On June 23, the U.K. voted to sever its economic and political union with Europe after a quarter century. The British exit—Brexit— came as a great surprise, shaking financial markets and lowering the outlook for economic growth in the U.S. New Yorkers, like many other city-dwellers in the western world, are starting to ask if and how they will be affected by the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.
Within the real estate industry, experts have voiced a range of opinions regarding Brexit’s potential to make waves in New York City’s real estate market. Although some analysts predict that Brexit will have a positive effect on New York City real estate values, others point out that Britain’s withdrawal may inflate NYC real estate prices through flooding U.S. markets with foreign investors. These models hypothesize that Brexit will increase demand for real estate in American cities like New York, Miami, and San Francisco, where the likelihood of appreciation is high.
In what ways will Britain’s leaving the EU affect New York City’s real estate market?
MORTGAGE RATES. It’s likely that Brexit will make mortgage rates more affordable, but how will the availability of cheaper loans affect the housing market in New York City? Declining mortgage rates should be advantageous for both prospective home buyers and homeowners in NYC who qualify for refinancing; mortgage lenders are bracing themselves for a deluge of refinance applications.
HOME PRICES. Brexit’s impact on New York City real estate will most likely vary according to property type. In all likelihood, commercial office spaces and residential apartment buildings will appreciate in value, as a result of overseas buyers regarding New York City real estate as a safe and stable place to invest. Conversely, luxury apartments and condos in New York City may experience a drop in value if the Pound and Euro continue to depreciate in value.
ACCELERATED GENTRIFICATION. An increase in housing prices will surely have a negative impact on millennial New Yorkers who are looking to buy their first home. That age group is already struggling to break into the housing market sans competition from wealthy foreign investors. Indeed, if an influx of foreign money does enter the New York City real estate market, inflated real estate prices will certainly make vulnerable NYC neighborhoods even less affordable. Young adults and millennial-age professionals may be priced out of neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan, accelerating the New York City housing market’s recent gentrification trends.
NYC TOURISM COULD TAKE A HIT. Although the loss of real estate purchasing power in Britain will motivate more foreign investors to seek refuge in the Manhattan real estate market, New York City’s tourism industry could experience a plateau as the value of the U.S. Dollar appreciates. New York could experience a decline in foreign visitorship and a slump in tourism profits.
The long term effects of Britain leaving the European Union are less obvious. Going forward, it will be interesting to monitor how–and if–Brexit continues to inform New York’s real estate market. The implications will become more clear once the United Kingdom begins, in actuality, to sever their political and economic ties to the EU.