Kevin Ross, director at Brown Turner Ross, looks at Brexit and the impact on the commercial property sector in Merseyside.
Brexit seems to have become a part of daily life here in the UK, the news that there could be a deal very soon is a sign that things are moving forward, whether this is positive news for the commercial property sector remains to be seen, the devil will be in the detail and we won’t understand the full implications and what control or otherwise it allows the UK for some time.
The main feeling around Brexit is uncertainty as businesses prefer to operate with clarity. It helps with strategic planning and is reassuring for stakeholders and investors. Having said that, the commercial property sector in Merseyside has not been affected too adversely to date as demand is still there and businesses are still planning ahead to a certain extent regardless of Brexit.
Overall, the impact of Brexit on the commercial property sector in Merseyside is not too dissimilar from what we are seeing nationally. However, if the reports are to be believed, northern cities may feel the effects more.
Generally, I think people at the moment are just going about their usual working life and whilst they will be taking an interest, it is only the decision makers at the top of companies that are planning for what may happen post Brexit. With the vast majority of those decisions on hold until Brexit has played out in full.
Whilst I do not think the ongoing uncertainty is hitting the commercial property sector hard, a full no deal Brexit may in my view see a heavy negative impact. For the time being, though it is a case that businesses are just playing cautious. In real terms therefore, whilst demand for commercial property will have been adversely affected in the short term, we won’t see the real impact until November if we actually leave on 31st October. If we don’t leave, then there will be a period of further uncertainty and I see this rolling on and on for the foreseeable future. As I am penning this, though, it is looking increasingly unlikely with another defeat in the commons, that the prime minister will manage to get things in place for a Brexit, certainly by the end of this month.
My advice for businesses is to be as flexible as possible and to develop a robust contingency plan that can see them through any potential Brexit scenario.