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One year on: what's changed since the Brexit vote?

Friday 23 June 2017

There has been many predictions about what would happen to the economy and society after the Brexit vote, but what has actually changed in the last 12 months?

It’s been a year since the UK voted to leave the European Union after more than 40 years of membership. Prime Minister Theresa May triggered article 50 back in March, nine months after the referendum result, but what impact has this had on the UK economy and housing sector?

New data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that economic growth has shown resilience since last June’s referendum, although it slowed in the first quarter of this year. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was 0.2%, down from 0.7% in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2016. Consumer-facing industries such as retail and accommodation fell and household spending slowed in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2017.

Inflation has more than tripled from 0.8% in June last year to a staggering 2.6% in April and 2.7% in May, the highest since April 2012. Inflation outpaced pay growth in April by 1.7% (excluding bonuses).

The value of the pound against the euro was 9% lower than before the Brexit vote in May, and nearly 12% down since the start of 2016. £1 was worth €1.17 on average last month, down from €1.28 in May 2016 (the last full month prior to the referendum). The value of sterling had dropped to €1.12 in October 2016, the lowest since March 2010.

Visits by overseas residents to the UK rose by 19% on a yearly basis to 3.7 million in April. This was a record high for April (helped partly by Easter), and close to last summer’s peak. Overseas visitors spent £2 billion – 20% more than the previous year – with their spending power having increased since the referendum due to the weaker pound.

EU immigration to the UK decreased by 19,000 to 250,000 compared with 2015. This was driven by a fall of 25,000 central and eastern European arrivals, to 48,000. Meanwhile, the number of EU nationals leaving the UK rose by 31,000 to 117,000. As a result, EU net migration fell by 51,000 from the previous year. All of the changes were statistically significant except for overall EU immigration.

Figures have pointed to a housing market slowdown in recent months, with demand for housing dropping by 10.3% this year alone. Our latest monthly snapshot showed that whilst there has been a halt on activity in the housing market, with mild uncertainty immediately following the Brexit vote, the UK housing market has ultimately remained resilient.