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RE investors worth £350bn “pessimistic” over Brexit vote

A poll of investors, developers and advisors by London-based law firm Nabarro finds that 63 percent of respondents think the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) would hit the real estate industry hard. 

More than 300 real estate investors, worth a total of £350 billion ($507 billion; €453 billion), believe the UK leaving the EU would have a negative effect on the industry, according to research by international law firm Nabarro.

The poll, which was carried out in the last month, saw 302 investors, developers, and advisors respond on the EU referendum question.

When asked the question, “Dependent on the outcome of the Brexit vote, how optimistic or pessimistic will you feel about the UK real estate market in the short term?,” 63 percent of respondents said they would be pessimistic.

The mood was particularly negative among investors, with 68 percent stating they would be pessimistic in the event of a Brexit, and only 11 percent saying they would be optimistic.

Meanwhile, developers were only slightly more positive about leaving the EU, with 51 percent saying they would be pessimistic and 23 percent optimistic.

However, 68 percent of those polled said they would be optimistic for UK real estate if Britain remained in the EU, with just 5 percent saying they would be pessimistic.

The results are almost identical to those from a similar poll last June, which found that 64 percent of the 250 investors questioned believed an exit from the EU would be “very bad news” for the sector.

Ciaran Carvalho, senior partner at Nabarro, said his firm had seen a large increase in the number of contracts which include clauses to protect the position of buyers investing in UK real estate ahead of the referendum.

He said: “Brexit is a leap into the unknown and Brexit clauses are a pragmatic, legal response to that uncertainty.”

Carvalho also dismissed suggestions that the real estate market is pausing ahead of the vote.

 

He added: “We are seeing plenty of deal activity. While some investors are holding back, there are many who see a slight softening in the market and less competition as an opportunity to buy.”