Brexit the brave?


I have a distinct sense of deja vu writing this article, for it was 21 months ago that I speculated on ‘Scotland the Brave?’ and what impact this could have on Muslim investors’appetite to acquire real estate north of the border. The result, of course, was Scotland remaining part of the UK, but it was very close.

Now the whole of the UK faces a very similar question, but this time whether it should leave the EU, so is the UK brave enough for an exit, the so-called ‘Brexit’ in a month’s time?

When I reported on the Scottish referendum, also a month before the vote, the polls at the time had 51% in favor of remaining in the UK, 38% wanting independence and 11% unsure. The latest EU referendum poll at the time of writing had the same 11% unsure, but with a marginal advantage for the leave camp, ie even if you include the 11% into those wishing to remain, it would be 51% in favor of leaving and 49% wishing to remain in the EU, so it’s extremely tight. But what impact has this had on Islamic investors?

As before with Scotland, the uncertainty has put a number of investors off , at least for the time being, preferring to see what happens. However, others have pushed on. According to media
reports, Kuwait’s Global Investment House recently acquired both the Scott ish headquarters of the Nationa Health Service in Edinburgh and the UK and European headquarters of 3M in Bracknell, to the west of London. However, speaking to our equity partners, regardless of whether they wish to wait for the moment or not, almost all were positive about the UK’s future and their investment into UK real estate regardless of what happens on the 23rd June.

Here at 90 North, while we are seeing less availability of UK transactions at the moment, as many sellers equally decide to postpone their marketing until after the 23rd June, which in reality means after the summer, we remain positive that we’ll be back in acquisition mode when the dust has sett led. As before, we will see what the public decides, but it is too close to call.