Belfast Telegraph

Brexit concerns 'deterring foreign buyers in London'

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson said overseas buyers were showing less interest in prime central London properties as a result of the UK's upcoming Brexit vote.

The FTSE 250 firm said it has seen a slowdown in the numbers of foreign buyers for its high value homes in the capital, where it estimated sales rates to non-domestic buyers has fallen by some 60% in recent months.

Chief executive Stephen Stone put the shortfall down to concern about the referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union on June 23.

Mr Stone said: "The debate around Brexit has had no impact on the domestic market, but some international investors are pausing for breath."

Developer British Land, the firm behind the the "cheesegrater" skyscraper in London, also warned today that it had seen a slowdown in parts of its business ahead of the UK's Brexit vote.

Surrey-based Crest Nicholson said in an update its number of completions lifted by 7% to 1,206 homes in the six months to the end of April compared to a year ago, buoyed by positive trading.

It added that average selling prices jumped by 24% to £387,000 over the period, adding that it was on track to notch up sales of £1 billion by the end of its 2016 financial year. Shares rose by almost 5%.

Low interest rates, greater access to mortgages for homebuyers and the Government's Help to Buy programme has boosted the housing market over recent years.

Mr Stone said: "We are continuing to see strong demand for new homes, underpinned by robust employment conditions and good mortgage access."

Shore Capital analyst Robin Hardy added: "A positive but again essentially in line trading update from the most strategically ambitious of the larger house builders."