Chat with us, powered by LiveChat The Impact of Brexit on UK Property Investment
22nd September 2023
14 minutes

The Impact of Brexit on UK Property Investment

Brexit, a term that has become synonymous with uncertainty and change, has left an indelible mark on various sectors, including UK property investment. The decision to leave the European Union sent shockwaves through the property market, leading to immediate reactions and long-term shifts. But what has been the real impact of Brexit on property prices, rental yields, and investor sentiment? How have domestic and foreign investors navigated this new landscape? And what does the future hold for UK property investment in a post-Brexit world? This article delves into these critical questions, exploring the historical perspective, the immediate aftermath, the transition period, and the future of UK property investment in the wake of Brexit.

A street of houses in oxford

Brexit and UK Property Investment: A Historical Perspective

The State of the UK Property Market Pre-Brexit

Before the Brexit vote, the UK property market was characterised by steady growth and resilience. Here's a detailed look at the condition:

  • Property Prices: The market grew by 22.5% in the six years leading up to the referendum. Despite fears of an 18% decline due to Brexit, house prices actually grew by 32% between July 2016 and May 2022.

  • Rental Yields: Rental yields remained attractive, drawing both domestic and foreign investors to the UK property market.

  • Investor Sentiment: The UK's strong economic position and the stability of its property market made it an attractive destination for investment.

  • Regional Differences: While London historically outperformed other regions, Brexit played a role in levelling up the UK's regions. For instance, house prices increased the most in the East Midlands at 42.3%, while London's growth was only 12.7%.

  • Legislative Reforms: Various reforms, such as stamp duty surcharge and mortgage interest tax relief changes, impacted property investors and landlords.

Investor Sentiment and Trends Pre-Brexit

Investor sentiment and trends before Brexit were multifaceted:

  • Domestic and Foreign Investors: Both domestic and foreign investors actively sought opportunities in the UK property market.

  • Investment Focus: Investors focused on prime locations, especially in London, and high-quality properties that offered good returns.

  • Overseas Investment Growth: Investment from overseas grew during the Brexit period. It's estimated that 250,000 properties are registered to overseas buyers, up from 0.4% in 2010 to around 1% of all residential titles.

  • Performance of the Pound: The collapse of the pound following the Brexit referendum made UK property a significantly cheaper option for overseas purchases of property, particularly for USD investors.

  • Legislative Impact: Reforms such as new regulations for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and eviction rules changed how landlords invest and manage their portfolios.

  • Post-Brexit Investment Landscape: The complexity of the UK property market post-Brexit requires lender flexibility, speed, and transparency.

In conclusion, the state of the UK property market and investor sentiment before Brexit was marked by growth, stability, and optimism. The market's resilience, regional differences, legislative reforms, and investment trends paint a comprehensive picture of a thriving sector. The predictions of a significant negative impact on the market did not materialise, and the UK property market continued to thrive even as the country prepared to leave the EU.

The Immediate Aftermath of Brexit Vote on Property Investment

Market Reactions to the Brexit Vote

The immediate reactions in the property market following the Brexit vote were marked by uncertainty and volatility. Property prices and rental yields experienced fluctuations, reflecting the broader economic landscape.

  • Property Prices: The HM Treasury report predicted a decline in house prices under both "shock" and "severe shock" scenarios. The uncertainty effect, transition effect, and financial conditions effect all contributed to this decline. In practice, some regions saw a dip in prices, while others remained stable or even increased. The mixed response can be attributed to local market conditions and investor sentiment.

  • Rental Yields: Rental yields were also affected by the Brexit vote. The uncertainty led to a cautious approach by investors, impacting rental demand and yields. However, in some areas, rental yields increased due to a shift in investment strategies and a focus on more stable rental income.

  • Investor Sentiment: The immediate aftermath saw a cooling of investor sentiment, particularly among foreign investors. The uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations and potential policy changes led to a wait-and-see approach.

  • Financial Market Reactions: The financial markets reacted with volatility, affecting mortgage rates and lending conditions. This had a knock-on effect on property investment, with some investors holding off on new purchases.

Changes in Investment Trends Post-Brexit Vote

Property investment trends shifted noticeably after the Brexit vote, both for domestic and foreign investors.

  • Domestic Investors: Many domestic investors adopted a more cautious approach, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the vote. The uncertainty surrounding the future relationship with the EU and potential economic impacts led to a reevaluation of investment strategies. Some investors shifted towards more conservative investments, while others saw opportunities in the changing landscape.

  • Foreign Investors: Foreign investment in the UK property market saw a more mixed response. While some investors pulled back due to uncertainty, others saw opportunities in the fluctuating currency exchange rates and potential bargains in the property market. The response varied by region and investor type, with some markets seeing increased foreign investment.

  • Institutional Investors: Institutional investors, such as pension funds and investment firms, also reevaluated their strategies. The potential impacts on economic growth, interest rates, and inflation led to a reassessment of risk and return profiles of property investment. Some institutional investors shifted towards alternative investments, while others maintained their positions in the UK property market.

Union jack flag against sky

Brexit Transition Period: Uncertainty and Policy Changes

The Impact of Uncertainty on the Property Market

The Brexit transition period, which lasted until 31 December 2020, was marked by significant uncertainty that had a profound impact on the UK property market. During this time, the UK continued to be treated as part of the EU in most respects, but the looming changes created a sense of unpredictability.

The key impact of Brexit on the property market was commercial rather than legal. The laws governing property ownership, letting, and conveyancing remained largely domestic and thus relatively unaffected. However, the commercial aspects of the property market were not insulated from the broader political changes in Europe and the world.

The uncertainty following the 2016 EU referendum result affected confidence within the UK property market. Some sectors, such as logistics, showed resilience, but the market generally did not respond well to uncertainty. Concerns around Brexit's impact were eventually overshadowed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which further accelerated trends like online shopping and remote working.

Pricing was also affected as Brexit was priced into the market, shifting the focus to the impact of COVID-19 on demand and, consequently, on different asset classes. The uncertainty also affected funding, with lenders facing challenges in sourcing new transactions and sponsors reluctant to refinance due to a desire for stability.

Policy Changes and Their Implications

The transition period also saw significant policy changes that had implications for property investment. The UK and the EU finally agreed on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on 24 December 2020, governing significant aspects of the trade relationship from 1 January 2021 onwards.

These policy changes did not have a major legal impact on commercial property in England, Wales, and Scotland. However, they did affect commercial decisions related to taking on, retaining, or disposing of premises. Brexit did not trigger the exodus that many had predicted, but it continued to be a factor in commercial decisions.

One significant legal development was the High Court ruling in Canary Wharf Limited v. European Medicines Agency, which provided comfort that occupiers could not easily use Brexit to terminate their letting arrangements.

The Brexit transition period was marked by uncertainty and policy changes that had commercial implications for the UK property market. While the legal framework remained largely unaffected, the commercial aspects were influenced by both Brexit and the global COVID-19 pandemic. As the UK embraces its future outside the EU, the focus will be on adjusting to the challenges presented by these profound changes and identifying new opportunities likely to arise.

Post-Brexit Property Investment Landscape

The State of the UK Property Market Post-Brexit

The UK property market has shown remarkable resilience in the face of Brexit, defying many negative predictions. Here's a closer look at the key aspects:

  • Property Prices: Contrary to warnings of an 18% fall, prices have grown by 32% between July 2016 and May 2022, according to Nationwide data. The growth was particularly noticeable in the East of England and the North West, driven by affordability pressures.

  • Rental Yields: The rental market remained stable, with no significant Brexit-related disruptions. The focus shifted towards more affordable regions, continuing a trend seen before Brexit.

  • Regional Divergence: Different regions experienced varying growth rates.

Here's a table showing the regional divergence:


Price Growth

East of England


North West




  • Note: The decline in London is attributed to adverse tax landscapes and political volatility, not Brexit.

  • Mortgage Rates: The cost of a five-year fixed-rate mortgage remained almost identical to six years ago, reflecting the stability in the lending market.

  • Currency Impact: The pound's 16% fall against the US dollar since the referendum has driven demand among overseas property buyers, offering an effective discount of 27% for a US buyer in prime central London.

Shifts in Domestic and Foreign Investment Post-Brexit

Investment trends have also shifted in the post-Brexit landscape, with both domestic and foreign investors adapting to the new environment.

  • Domestic Investment: The UK's property market passed its biggest test after Brexit, with a 14.4% rise in residential transactions in the 71 months following the referendum. The market showed signs of normalisation, albeit more gradual than expected.

  • Foreign Investment: Despite initial fears, foreign buyers didn't turn away from the UK. The weakened pound created attractive opportunities, especially in prime central London.

  • Supply Chain and Labour Market: Brexit caused logistical hurdles, leading to disruptions in the housebuilding sector. These were often compounded by the pandemic.

  • Policy Impact: Uncertainties around Brexit made the Bank of England more cautious, contributing to keeping rates lower for longer. The impact on monetary policy is now marginal compared to global issues like the cost-of-living surge.

The post-Brexit property investment landscape in the UK has been marked by resilience and adaptability. While there were challenges, the market's overall performance has been robust, with growth in prices and transactions. The effects of Brexit on the property market were often indirect and overshadowed by other factors, such as the pandemic and political instability.

Row of english cottages

Brexit and the Future of UK Property Investment

Predictions for the UK Property Market Post-Brexit

The post-Brexit landscape presents both opportunities and challenges for investors in the UK property market. Here's an in-depth look:


  • Currency Advantage: The weakened pound has made UK properties more attractive to foreign investors, offering effective discounts.

  • Regional Growth: Areas outside London, such as Manchester and Birmingham, are experiencing growth, offering investment opportunities.

  • Government Support: Initiatives like the Help to Buy scheme may continue to support the market.

  • Sustainable Development: There's a growing focus on green and sustainable properties, opening new investment avenues.


  • Regulatory Changes: Brexit has led to changes in regulations that may affect property transactions.

  • Economic Uncertainty: Ongoing economic challenges may impact investor confidence.

  • Supply Chain Disruptions: Brexit-related disruptions in supply chains can affect construction costs and timelines.

For investment opportunities in the North West, Beech Holdings offers tailored solutions for individual investors and institutional investors. You can also check our aftersales services and investor guides.

The Role of Policy Changes in Shaping the Future

Policy changes post-Brexit play a crucial role in shaping the future of property investment in the UK. Here's an exploration:

  • Monetary Policy: The Bank of England's approach to interest rates and lending could influence mortgage availability and affordability.

  • Immigration Policy: Changes in immigration laws may affect the demand for rental properties in urban areas.

  • Tax Regulations: Changes in stamp duty and other property-related taxes can impact investment decisions.

  • Trade Agreements: New trade agreements with the EU and other countries may affect the cost of construction materials and the availability of skilled labour.

  • Environmental Regulations: The UK's commitment to sustainability may lead to new regulations affecting property development and investment.

Here's a table summarising the potential policy impacts:

Policy Area

Potential Impact

Monetary Policy

Mortgage Availability

Immigration Policy

Rental Demand

Tax Regulations

Investment Decisions

Trade Agreements

Construction Costs

Environmental Policy

Sustainable Development Opportunities

The future of UK property investment post-Brexit is shaped by a complex interplay of factors, including opportunities, challenges, and policy changes. Investors must navigate this landscape with awareness and adaptability.

The impact of Brexit on UK property investment has been a multifaceted journey marked by initial uncertainty, resilience, and adaptation. From the pre-Brexit market conditions to the immediate reactions, transition period, and the post-Brexit landscape, the UK property market has navigated challenges and embraced opportunities. Policy changes and economic factors continue to shape the future, offering both prospects and hurdles for investors. With a focus on sustainable development and regional growth, the UK remains an attractive investment destination. For tailored investment solutions and insights,Beech Holdings stands as a trusted partner in the UK's evolving property market.

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