LONDON (Reuters) - Half of Chinese investors are holding back from buying property in Britain until after the country’s referendum on EU membership, a survey showed on Wednesday, though a quarter say they are more eager to complete purchases before the vote.
A total of 51 percent of the 411 Chinese property professionals and investors surveyed by juwai.com, the largest real estate portal that targets Chinese buyers looking abroad, said the June 23 vote had made them hold back from deals.
Britons vote in just over a week on whether to remain part of the world’s biggest trading bloc with several recent polls indicating an increase in support for the leave, or Brexit, campaign, stoking fears of market instability.
Transactions in commercial property fell by 40 percent in the first quarter, according to the Bank of England, with many buyers and sellers waiting to see the outcome in case an exit vote hurts property prices.
However, 46 percent of Chinese investors said demand would rise if Britain left the EU, almost as many as the 52 percent who responded that remaining in the EU would boost interest, according to the research carried out between June 2 and 5.
Chinese investors are among the biggest foreign buyers of UK property, especially in London and Manchester.
Of the 42 British property professionals - including estate agents and consultants - surveyed by juwai.com, 50 percent said there was decreasing demand from international buyers in British property.
“The overall picture here is one of uncertainty,” said the site’s UK head Bernie Morris.
“The fact that few feel they know what the true impact of Brexit would be is holding buyers back.”
Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Mark Potter