Posted by Gareth Williams, Partner
Property firms speak out ahead of referendum vote
With less than a month to go until the referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU, companies are starting to speculate about the impact that a vote to leave could have on the property market.
The property developer British Land – the outfit behind London’s ‘cheesegrater’ skyscraper – said that some big businesses were holding back on taking up office space until after the outcome of the vote was clear.
“The occupational market overall remains favourable, although more recently there is evidence that some large occupiers are delaying decisions to take space until after the upcoming EU referendum,” the group said.
The firm also warned that Brexit could have a “potentially adverse effect” on the sector.
Chief executive Chris Grigg added: “Clearly the referendum brings uncertainty. We don’t believe an exit would be positive for London or the wider UK economy, but judging the scale of this impact if it happens is very hard.”
FTSE 100 firm Land Securities has also waded into the debate, suggesting that leaving the EU could be “painful” for the property sector.
Robert Noel, the company’s chief executive, said: “We believe a vote to leave the EU would lead to business uncertainty while negotiations take place on an exit treaty.
“Over the short term, we anticipate this would drive down occupational demand in our market. In turn, this would lead to falling rental values and a reduction in construction commitments, particularly in London.”
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