The world was caught off guard recently when Britain voted to leave the EU. It sent stock markets plunging for a few days and has created some uncertainty in the world. Stock markets have since recovered but what are some of the medium to longer term effects. Well when there's uncertainty people tend to hold off on making risky decisions or big purchases. But also because of uncertainty the consensus now is for rates to stay low even longer. Current forecasts are for them to possibly start rising in 2018; before Brexit is was 2017. The 5 year fixed rate has already dropped to a fresh historical low and is now below 2.5% Low rates could possibly spur even more activity, especially in the Vancouver & Toronto markets but only time will tell.
The chaos that ensued in stock markets in the aftermath of the U.K. electorate’s “leave” vote on its Brexit referendum Thursday (June 23) has left global finance reeling, and Canadian real estate will not emerge from the tumult unscathed, according to a market observer.
In a June 24 client note, Dominion Lending Centres chief economist Dr. Sherry Cooper said that the uncertainty stemming from the U.K.’s departure from the European Union—evident in the sharp declines experienced by the commodity sector and the 30-year lows suffered by the pound sterling—will definitely make itself felt across the Atlantic.
“[While] this is not good for our economy, the negative impact will be relatively muted. Nevertheless, financial turmoil and uncertainty will continue for some time, which is never good for confidence and therefore, risk-taking and spending,” Cooper wrote.
Companies and organizations that have business in the U.K. were caught flat-footed by the unprecedented vote, and this goes double for Canadians who have assets in the U.K. and the EU, Cooper warned.
“Hedge funds and other investors around the world that have been caught on the wrong side of this trade are scrambling, which likely portends a sell off in risky assets for at least a couple of days,” Cooper explained.
“Even with all of this, investors should not panic sell this environment. It is a buying opportunity for longer-term investors. At the same time, do not try to time markets. No one can pick the bottom and market timing never works. Canadians who have some dry powder should consider buying their favourite stocks as they are sideswiped by the British vote,” she added.
The pressing problem would be lower interest rates, Cooper stated, which in turn would ensure that the country’s housing markets would remain especially active.
“The Canadian dollar is actually holding up quite well right now, although Canadian bank stocks are taking a hit, down just over 2 percent as of this writing. Only about 4 percent of Canadian trade is with Europe and only roughly 3 percent with Britain,” the economist concluded. “If anything, continued very low interest rates could further boost already hot Toronto and Vancouver housing markets.”
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