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Brexit: Slowdown at top end of housing market after European referendum

By Lisa smyth

Investors and sellers at the top end of the housing market may be putting the brakes on over uncertainty following Brexit, it's been claimed.

Richard McCulloch from McCulloch Estate Agents in north Belfast said a number of potential buyers have pulled out of purchases since the EU referendum.

But others - including Simon Brien Residential - said it was business as usual.

Mr McCulloch said he felt people were showing caution. "We've had people who are very keen to buy but when we called for feedback after a viewing they said that due to the uncertainty of the economic market, they didn't want to put in an offer.

"I actually had an investor from the south of England who was going to buy a couple of well priced properties in north Belfast but because of Brexit he withdrew from the purchases last week.

"He felt it wasn't wise to buy the property as he's been hearing all the doom and the gloom about what might happen."

But Simon Brien Residential said June had been one of its busiest months in two years, with 205 agreed sales.

This week had brought over 900 calls a day to its Lisburn Road office over "new enquiries, viewing requests and ongoing negotiations".

Simon Brien added: "That is significant given the tension around Brexit and the traditionally slow Northern Ireland July holiday period."

But he added that there had been a slowdown at the top end. "Business people are perhaps waiting to see if there is any impact on their businesses before making a significant personal transaction in a house move."

And he said that with prices still around 60% of their 2007 peak, further price falls were unlikely.

Jonathan Robb, a mortgage advisor from One Stop Mortgage Shop in Belfast city centre, said he is unaware of any sales falling through as a result of Brexit.

"For me, it is very much business as usual and I'm as busy now as I was before Brexit ever happened.

"I do think it's a matter of confidence and as long as there is confidence in the market everything will be okay."

He added: "There are some risks - for example a lot of my customers are reliant upon the older generations to get together their deposit and it may be that they decide to hold off for a few months to gauge the impact of Brexit.

"If this happens, then the market could slow down, but as it stands the lenders are still lending and they haven't made any changes to their terms."

Belfast Telegraph