What will leaving the EU mean: The referendum results are in but what's the impact of Brexit now?

What leaving the EU could mean for house prices, holidays and jobs

Updated: 
EU referendum

Britain has voted to leave the EU - by 52% Leave to 48% Remain. In a record turnout, the British public has decided that the country will be stronger outside the European Union. Just over half the country will be jubilant about the result, with excitement and enthusiasm about a brighter future. Slightly fewer than half will be horrified. So what will the historic vote mean for you?

The pound

The markets have already reacted strongly, with the pound at its lowest point against the Euro since 1985. This is partly because before the vote, the markets were convinced that Britain would remain within the EU - so it had already had its 'relief rally'. The pound has also seen its biggest one-day drop against the dollar (of over 10%) in 30 years to $1.34.

This doesn't just mean more expensive holidays, it's also likely to increase the price of items brought to the UK from overseas, which is going to make the cost of living more expensive.

Over the longer term we are likely to see something of a recovery. Leave campaigners were predicting a swift bounce back after an initial reaction - although we will have to see how far it will recover, and how fast this will happen.

See also: The best and worst places to buy euros​

Shares

The cheerful phrase being used about the markets is 'an explosion of volatility'. The Leave vote has shocked markets around the world, and the 'futures' markets - an indication of what could happen next to the stock markets - have recorded some of the most astonishing movements in years.

This will be difficult news for anyone with a pension or any market-based investments, who could see the value of their investments suffer.

Anyone who is taking advantage of pension freedoms in order to keep their money invested is going to feel the pain of volatility, and will need to think very carefully about whether they should be withdrawing any money from their pension at the moment.

The more long-term effects are less certain, so the experts are advising against knee-jerk reactions, and to stay in the market rather than crystallising losses and running for the hills.

There's a chance that some companies in the FTSE 100, for example, will actually benefit from a weaker pound as it will be better for exporters, so there may be more fundamental strength within these companies - unless their trade is with the EU in which case the jury is still out. The FTSE 350, meanwhile is likely to fare rather less well.

Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group says, however, there is an upside for bold investors. He explains: "This turbulence and panic-selling will, of course, create some major buying opportunities for investors. A professional fund manager will help investors take advantage of the opportunities that volatility brings and mitigate potential risks as and when they are presented."

Fluctuations can cause panic-selling and mis-pricing. High quality equities can then, for example, become cheaper, meaning investors can top up their portfolios and take advantage of lower entry points. This all, in turn, means greater potential returns."

Austerity

Again, we will have to wait and see whether George Osborne makes good on his promise that Brexit will mean more austerity - and for longer. In the run up to the referendum he promised an Emergency Budget with more taxes and cuts, which would bring pain to everyone - especially the most vulnerable whose budgets are already on a knife-edge.

House prices

Forecasters have suggested that house prices are set for a significant fall - especially in London. If Europeans pull out of the country, there may be a sell off, and prices could fall. It was one of the reasons some younger people voted for Brexit, so that house prices will become more affordable.

Another potential boon for homeowners is that if the Remain campaign are right, and the change precipitates a recession, the Bank of England may push down interest rates further, which will make mortgages more affordable.

Unfortunately, for those with large mortgages, who have over-stretched themselves, the spectre of negative equity looms.

Holidays

Quite aside from the huge increase in cost of your holiday money, there's a chance air fares will be higher, as the EU was instrumental in removing the old restrictions on air service agreements, and there's no guarantee that new agreements will be favourable. Leave campaigners have argued that this isn't the case, and that prices will stay low, because carriers want to remain competitive - so we will have to wait and see what happens.

There's also the risk we lose the mobile phone changes we have fought so hard for - so that despite roaming charges being abolished across the EU in 2017, Brits are likely to see those charges rise again. Then of course there's the disappearance of the EHIC - which will mean travelling in the EU without travel insurance becomes more hazardous.

See also: The best and worst places to buy euros​

Legal change

Actually leaving the EU will take years, because the UK will have to notify the EU of its withdrawal, and then try to negotiate a withdrawal agreement. We will have a two year window in which to negotiate a treaty to replace the terms of EU membership - covering everything from trade agreements to migration.

The Brexit campaigners were keen to talk-up Britain's ability to make favourable trade agreements, while Remain campaigners were keen to point out that the EU has no commitment to any kind of favourable deals.

Some commentators are suggesting the EU may look to take a tough stance in order to discourage other countries from leaving.

There's a strong chance that any deal comes with strings attached - such as freedom of movement and financial commitments (as it does with Switzerland).

Once the UK has left the EU, the country will then have to negotiate with the rest of the world, and it's anyone's guess whether we will get much better trading arrangements or whether we will be, as Obama said, at the back of the queue.

The government predicted that the economy could be between 3.8% and 7.5% smaller by 2030 - depending on how trade negotiations go.

However, on the plus side, the Leave campaign has always insisted that this is their opportunity to put in place a series of more favourable trade agreements, so there's always the hope that this is successful.

Jobs

There's a risk that large multinationals will pull out of the UK. At the moment, being based in the UK means that the same standards apply across the continent, so - for example - cars being built in the UK can be sold in the EU.

That is not necessarily going to be the case in future, which could mean those companies pack up and move, putting enormous numbers of jobs at risk. Even if some sort of deal is thrashed out, you have to ask whether these companies will continue to invest in the UK, and take a chance for the continuation of trade arrangements - or whether they will move to the EU.

Banks will be one large swathe of multinationals who might be heading for the door. PriceWaterhouse Coopers has estimated that Brexit will put 100,000 financial services jobs at risk by 2020.

Professor Christian Stadler of Warwick Business School and author of Enduring Success, says: "It is not clear what's happening next and businesses will be reluctant to invest. I don't expect that there will be a massive exodus, but rather than expanding in the UK, companies are likely to do it in Europe instead, particularly for businesses which export to the EU. The devaluation of the pound should help exports slightly, but it will be an issue for all those who have EU suppliers. There is an expected contraction of the UK market, which will hit sales in the UK."

See also: 'Don't panic' warning to savers after Brexit vote​

The economy

None of us like uncertainty, so there's a good chance that Brexit will cause people to feel a bit more cautious about the future. When we feel cautious, we spend less money, and when we spend less money, the economy suffers. We can expect some disappointing high street figures over the next few months - although there's always hope that things bounce back if some of the worst fears are not realised.

Scotland

The strong Remain vote in Scotland is likely to spark calls for another referendum on Scotland leaving the union. Nicola Sturgeon has made it clear that the interests of Scotland are her first priority, so if she feels those interests are best-served by being out of the union and in the EU, then Scotland could have another referendum on leaving the UK.

Ireland

There will be a border in Ireland again, between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which raises issues about border control, and has possible implications for the peace process.

Expats

Much of the debate around Brexit centred on voters wanting a change to immigration rules, and an end to freedom of movement. However, if this was to be implemented then Brits living across Europe would face the risk of being sent back to the UK - so during negotiations some kind of balance will need to be struck.

It is unlikely that they will be sent home, and each individual is likely to be able to mount their own legal campaign to stay - based on their own position. Of course, those who want to retire abroad but haven't left yet will have to rely on new agreements negotiated with EU.

The answer to the question of what this all means is overwhelmingly 'it depends'. Much will rest in the hands of the negotiators now, and what they are able to put in place over the next two years. The question is whether they can produce something more favourable than Britain had in the EU - or not.




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