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Private landlords in border areas face biggest post-Brexit hit: report

Private landlords with properties along the border in Northern Ireland could be worst affected economically after Brexit, experts have predicted
Private landlords with properties along the border in Northern Ireland could be worst affected economically after Brexit, experts have predicted
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Private landlords with properties along the border in Northern Ireland could be worst affected economically after Brexit, experts have predicted.

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A new report commissioned by the Housing Executive has examined the drivers of our housing market; migration and commuting patterns between Northern Ireland and the Republic; and the impact on migrants currently here.

Evidence from accounting firm RSM suggests that the local housing market is currently in a good state of health and impacts on demand resulting from changes to migration are likely to be limited.

However, the housebuilding industry may see a bigger hit due to reduced demand and problems with labour and materials.

The report concluded that the private rented sector was the tenure most likely to be affected by Brexit and the impact will probably be felt most in the border areas of Northern Ireland, where there are higher proportions of migrant workers, and the job and housing markets of many areas close to the border are linked to those in the Republic.

Anna Clarke, associate director for RSM's economic consulting team, said: "Brexit is likely to have an impact on the economy of Northern Ireland, which could in turn affect the housing market.

"The impact on the economy very much depends on the nature of Brexit - whether there is a withdrawal agreement, what it includes and whether the UK economy is able to adapt to any trade restrictions. One key risk if there is an economic shock as a result of Brexit would be the impact on inflation, as a sharp rise in inflation could lead to a rise in interest rates, which will in turn exert a downwards pressure on house prices.

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"The impact of Brexit on the most affected areas is particularly hard to predict, as much depends on the nature of post-Brexit trade deals, the economic impact on the value of the pound relative to the euro and any possible impact on community relations in areas where Brexit has been, and may continue to be, a divisive issue politically.

"This analysis showed that most economically active migrants in Northern Ireland come from EU countries," she added.

"Economic turmoil that reduces the value of the pound relative to the euro is therefore likely to encourage migrant workers to move to a different EU country where wages are higher, or to return to their country of origin."

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