British Property Award Winner 2017
The property sector in the UK can thrive post-Brexit with the vast
majority of business leaders confident about the future when the country
leaves the European Union in March 2019.
Some 70% of real estate sector leaders believe the UK is strong enough
to be independent, 84% have experienced no change to EU operations or
trade since Article 50 was triggered and only one in five have taken
actions to mitigate against potential risks.
However, the research by Shakespeare Martineau also found that 80% agree
that immigration is required to fill the skills gap and one in seven
are planning to or have already pulled a project due to Brexit.
Overall, the initial optimism is countered by wider worries about
immigration and trade. Most of the property businesses believe that the
skills gap in the sector is likely to increase as access to skilled
labour becomes more difficult. The effects of the skills gap will be
felt not only by construction businesses, but also by areas such as
planning, engineering and surveying, the firm says.
The real estate sector is aware of the risks posed by Brexit to long
term project work. Whilst some respondents stated they were planning to
or have already pulled a project due to Brexit, a significant number are
primarily UK focused and as such only 6% are moving functions or
operations from the UK.
‘Ever since Article 50 was triggered, the social and political
environment has been markedly unsettled. There is still a worrying
amount to negotiate in a tremendously short time. One thing is for
certain, Brexit will change the way business is conducted in the real
estate sector and across the UK as a whole,’ said Adrian Bland, head of
commercial real estate at Shakespeare Martineau.
‘The value of commercial real estate is intrinsically linked to the
prosperity of the economy. The industry contributes over £94 billion in
the UK each year. The investment it attracts encourages growth,
productivity and is a catalyst for urban regeneration. Real estate will
play a crucial role in constructing an optimistic future for the UK
outside of the EU. The prosperity of this highly entrepreneurial sector
is essential for the success of the economy as a whole,’ he explained.
‘Many mid-market businesses have experienced pressure as a result of
uncertainty created by Brexit. However, whilst other sectors prefer
waiting for clarity, the real estate industry is highly cyclical and its
entrepreneurial people react rapidly to change as it happens,’ he
Real estate business leaders are confident in the performance of the
post-Brexit market and only one in five have taken actions to prepare
themselves from possible risks resulting from Brexit.
Additionally, only 23% have spoken to employees about the potential
impacts of Brexit, 21% have analysed different trading possibilities,
18% have compared costs of EU and non-EU suppliers and 14% have examined
‘Brexit is unlike anything else we have experience in recent times
because it is so intricate and uncertain. Our research demonstrates
that, although real estate businesses have shown optimism in the face of
Brexit, they need to be prepared for the unprecedented changes ahead,
harnessing their innate determination and self-sufficiency,’ Bland
‘By developing financial resilience, managing supply chain risk and
collaborating with industry peers, the sector can position itself in the
best way possible,’ he added.
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