HSBC warns Brexit could be problematic for housing and sustainability
Banking giant HSBC has warned that a so-called "Brexit" - Britain leaving the EU - could have serious consequences for housing and sustainability.
The bank has come out in support of the UK remaining in Europe and issued a note saying that severing ties with the continent could have a major impact on a number of industries.
In terms of property, HSBC believes a Brexit would have an "adverse impact on the London office market". In addition, the bank believes that the country's GDP growth would drop by 1.5 per cent in 2017 - and this could be detrimental to the rental market.
There is also concern about how the UK's policies regarding energy efficiency and sustainability would change if the country was no longer committed to meeting the EU's environmental targets.
HSBC believes that a Brexit would certainly lead to a change in policy towards renewables and energy efficiency. The drive towards green energy - like off-shore wind and solar - could be replaced "with more investment in gas-fired power stations". The move could also mean that less emphasis is placed on energy efficiency in new homes and commercial buildings.
Online estate agent eMoov.co.uk agrees that leaving the EU could be problematic for the housing sector. In a recent survey, the company found that 55 per cent of UK homeowners believed that leaving the EU would impact the value of their property.
However, eMoov notes that it's not the Brexit itself that would cause the drop in house prices, but rather the uncertainty among homeowners and buyers concerning what would happen next.
"We've been part of the EU for over 40 years now, so it's understandable that such a momentous change will lead to uncertainty amongst the UK public, as to the resulting implications an exit will have on them," explained Russel Quirk, founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk.
Nikolas Xenofontos, head of risk at global financial trading company easyMarkets, believes that both sides of the Brexit debate have legitimate concerns, but he warns that "it's difficult to ignore the backlash of a Leave vote".
He says that uncertainty can be a major problem for investor morale and if the UK votes to leave the EU, we should "be prepared to multiply that tenfold".