Tag Archives: Brexit

Greenfield land prices flourish – but central London slumps

By Vivienne Shirley, Senior Consultant

Knight Frank has released its latest Residential Development Land Index for Q2 2018, showing the biggest annual rise in greenfield land prices in England since 2014.

Prices rose by 2.1% on average in Q2 of 2018, taking the annual growth to 4.6% – the strongest seen in four years. This has been largely propelled by demand from developers in the South West and the Midlands, particularly in areas that are desirable to homeowners now or due to benefit from infrastructure improvements in the near future.

Justin Gaze, Head of Residential Development Land at Knight Frank, noted: “Sites which can be delivered up to 2021, and which will benefit from Help to Buy, are most attractive. Beyond this timeframe, policy uncertainty is causing a level of hesitance.”

However, the picture is not as rosy elsewhere with prime central London development land prices falling 1.4% in Q2, contributing to an annual change of -3.5%.

This is partly attributed to the Greater London Authority’s 35% affordable housing requirement, which is pushing some developers to build in the provinces instead.

The capital’s biggest home builder, Berkeley, which only bought one new development site in the London in 2017, recently stated to shareholders: “It is telling that some funders and builders are choosing to exit the market when faced with the degree of risk and regulation that now confronts development in the capital.”

The risk of a no-deal Brexit is also likely blunting developers’ appetite for building in London.

Jonathan Samuels, chief executive of home loans company Octane Capital, explained, “Given that the London property market is heavily exposed to big business and international buyers, if both begin to retreat in the event of a no-deal Brexit, prices in the capital could suffer disproportionately.”

A Weak and Wobbly Great Repeal Bill


Theresa MayAfter much speculation, the Government has now published details of its so-called ‘Great Repeal Bill’. It is safe to say that majority of people will have found it a great disappointment.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, bringing an end to Britain’s membership of the European Union. European laws will no longer take precedence over UK laws and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will be removed. So just how much control are we taking back?

Untangling European law will be a messy affair. In reality, if and when the Bill becomes the European Union (Withdrawl) Act, it simply means that all existing EU legislation will become UK law. This is to ensure the process of leaving the European Union runs as smoothly as possible. Parliament will then decide which European laws it wants to keep, get rid of or amend.

However, this will be easier said than done as the House of Lords’ Constitution Committee warned that EU law is found in many different places in many different forms. The ‘Great Repeal Bill’ must become an Act of Parliament before Britain’s official exit from the European Union on 29 March 2019. Due to the complexity of detangling EU law, the Committee is concerned that the Government will use some of the delegated powers outlined within the Bill.

This means that the Government will potentially be able to amend legislation on everything from workers’ rights to food standards and banking regulations without the agreement of Parliament. Brexit Secretary David Davis has stated any major changes to UK law will be voted on through primary legislation. However, if the Government finds itself running out of time it will not put at risk the entire Brexit process for the sake of Parliamentary scrutiny.

The re-election of Remain supporter Hilary Benn MP as Chair of the Select Committee on Exiting the EU could throw another spanner in the works. Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit secretary, has warned the Government that Labour will vote against the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ if it does not get a number of concessions including protecting workers’ rights, copying the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights in UK law and limiting the use of delegated powers. Starmer has denied that Labour are trying to block Brexit however just a few votes against the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ could be catastrophic.

As well as a potential collision course with Westminster, Theresa May could face a battle with the devolved administrations who must also agree to the Bill under the Sewel Convention. A joint statement (released mere hours after the Bill was published) from Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon states that they cannot support the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ in its present form.

The Government will therefore most likely be forced in to making several concessions Labour is seeking such as retaining the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. Opposition parties are likely to threaten to derail the Bill if they believe they are not getting enough control over what laws stay and what laws go. Far from being strong and stable, Theresa May’s government is looking increasingly weak and wobbly.