Post Brexit jitters fail to dent the local housing market

Lee Colyer

The Tunbridge Wells property market has shaken off the post-Brexit-blues as confidence remains high in what the town and local area has to offer, estate agents claim.

Reports predicting a collapse in the housing market following the Referendum vote to leave the EU appear to be ringing hollow for those dealing in Tunbridge Wells real estate, many of whom say business has remained robust and that there continue to be more buyers than sellers.

“We confidently expect the area’s reputation for educational excellence, culture, diverse architecture, recreation and commutability will continue to attract buyers of all ages,” said Heather Cernis of Jackson-Stops & Staff.

The agent’s buyers and sellers had remained ‘pragmatic’ and ‘steadfast’ in the aftermath of the vote, she continued, adding: “All transactions are progressing and on course.

“Post-Brexit, we have had a steady flow of new instructions and requests for market appraisals. Not surprising, perhaps, as Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding villages have so much to offer.”

Her sentiments are shared by Mary McAuley Miller of McAuley Miller, who said their initial fears of some clients pulling out have been unfounded, with the company taking two new instructions within 24 hours of the vote – both selling two days later.

“Brexit was a shock, but in reality nothing has changed for us,” she said. “Anxiety has faded and confidence seems to be returning with requests for valuations increasing now the EU result is out.

“The fear of mass withdrawals from purchases didn’t occur – we’ve had none whatsoever – maybe because a good, experienced agent can guide the nervous buyer, and those with a genuine need to move will not falter.”

She added that the shortage of ‘quality property’ on the market was keeping it steady.

Robert Jacobs, head of office at Savills Tunbridge Wells said ‘conflicting signals’ in the market since the vote suggest the impact of leaving the EU will only become clear over coming months as the market finds its level.

He explained: “Prime regional markets are at a different stage in their cycle, having been slower to recover peak 2007 values, and therefore appear to have been less affected by pre-Referendum uncertainty.

“In Tunbridge Wells we ended last week positively with new agreed sales and current negotiations, and no cancellations from our pipeline of sales.”

Key infrastructure improvements, such as the A21 dualling and the refurbished London Bridge station – which will add further links to London – will also help to ‘underpin demand’ in the town, he said.

However, Mr Jacobs believes it was as much domestic policy as the Referendum result which would have an adverse impact on housing, warning: “Sellers will need to be realistic on price expectations as additional stamp duty on high value homes is making buyers cautious.”

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