ESTATE agents in Spain and Gibraltar are lining themselves up for the busiest July on record.
It comes as some British buyers put purchases on hold due to the forthcoming EU referendum on June 23.
Most agents the Olive Press spoke to confirmed they had various sales currently ‘paused’ awaiting the result, despite the British market remaining strong.
The majority believe that the expected result – to stay in Europe – will lead to the pound strengthening with a red hot summer of sales to follow.
Ben Bateman, at Holmes Sotogrande, described the referendum lead up as a ‘pause for thought for British buyers’ due to concerns over the weak pound.
“After a remain vote however, we expect to see a strong finish to the year – and a sudden wave of bids from British buyers,” he told the Olive Press.
One agent in Gibraltar has gone one step further actually employing extra staff for July. Savills director Sammy Cruz-Armstrong said: “Everything is on hold due to Brexit, but I am convinced we will stay in Europe and am taking on extra staff in July to deal with the expected deluge of business.”
Benahavis agent Scott Marshall of PropertieSpain, meanwhile, described the pause as ‘very psychological’.
He said: “It’s a combination of the uncertainty of the vote and the exchange rate right now.”
While many agents have a couple of sales currently on hold, some have seen more.
“We have up to ten sales currently on hold until after the referendum,” said Victor Witkowski, boss of Castles, in Manilva.
“Buyers are not necessarily pulling out, but they are biding their time to see what happens.”
Fellow Manilva agent, Shani Hamilton, also confirmed a slowdown, but added: “We are predicting a huge influx of business as soon as a decision is made.”
Either way, official statistics out this month confirm the British market remains strong and tens of thousands continue to look for their dream home.
Respected analyst Mark Stucklin insists that foreign demand for Spanish property was up 16% in the first quarter with Brits the biggest group of foreign buyers at 22% of the market share.
“The British still dominate the foreign market for property and there is no evidence of a noticeable decline in demand as yet,” he said.
And certainly not everyone is suffering.
One agent, Graham Govier of Inland Andalucia has seen ‘no negative impact’ at all during the referendum lead-up.
“In fact it is the opposite. Prices are extremely cheap right now and we are selling two times as many properties as we were last year,” he said.
He added: “My salesman Paul – already a bit of a local celebrity – has just completed his seventh consecutive sale and people are buying because they can see that the incredible deals won’t wait around for them forever,” he added.
Paul made headlines in the Olive Press last year when he sold an impressive nine properties in a row.