Brits trying to buy their first house would benefit from the UK leaving the European Union (EU), a leading credit ratings agency has said.
Moody’s claims Brexit would be followed by a fall in house prices, especially if immigration is then cut, benefitting the many first-time buyers who are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.
“First-time buyers would benefit from lower competition for housing, as house price and rental inflation would slow down if immigration is curbed,” said Gaby Trinkaus, a vice president and senior analyst at the ratings agency.
The government and ‘Remain’ supporters have tried to use falling house prices to scare people into voting to stay in the EU, with International Monetary Fund (IMF) president Christine Lagarde saying a Brexit would cause a house price crash, a claim echoed by her close ally Chancellor George Osborne.
The Guardian reports, however, that Moody’s suggests that any fall in prices would be good for cash-strapped people desperate to buy their first house but who find themselves currently priced out of the market.
Official figures show that prices rose in March by their fastest rate since 2004, taking the average price of a home to £291,820 and adding to the pressure on lower-income workers trying to find a house.
This is not the first time Moody’s has weighed into the referendum debate. Earlier this month, the agency said a total collapse of the EU was a question of “when” and not “if”, with Colin Ellis, Moody’s Managing Director, warning in a report:
“Even if the EU survives its current challenges largely unscathed, even a ‘small’ future crisis could threaten the sustainability of current institutional frameworks, if it coincided with negative public sentiment and populist political developments.
“This can create the impression that the question is when the system breaks, rather than if.”