George Osborne, who quit politics in 2017 and has since become editor-in-chief of the Evening Standard, was a lead figure in the Remain campaign during the 2016 EU referendum where he was accused of being one of the architects of “Project Fear” – a phrase referring to economic and socio-political pessimism. Now, an unearthed report reveals the true extent of the Tory’s scaremongering, where he claimed house prices could fall by 18 percent if the UK decided to leave the European Union in June 2016.
Mr Osborne, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2010-2016 under David Cameron’s leadership, claimed ahead of the EU referendum that Brexit would cause an “economic shock” and prompt house prices to plummet.
In May 2016, one month before the crunch vote, the Chancellor warned house prices could take an 18 percent hit over the next two years.
He also warned the economic impact of Brexit would increase the cost of mortgages in the UK if Britons voted to Leave on June 23.
Speaking at the G7 summit in Japan on May 20, 2016, Mr Osborne said: “If we leave the European Union, there will be an immediate economic shock that will hit financial markets.
“People will not know what the future looks like.
“In the long term, the country and the people in the country are going to be poorer.
“That affects the value of people’s homes and the Treasury analysis shows that there would be a hit to the value of people’s homes by at least 10 percent and up to 18 percent.”
His claims echoed several other economic forecasts that suggested voting to leave the EU would reduce UK house prices, especially in London.
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New figures by the Office for National Statistics show house prices across Britain reached a record average high of £250,000 last year.
The average cost of a home increased by 7.6 percent over the period, up from a 5.9 percent rise in the year to October.
London’s average house price exceeded half-a-million for the first time in November 2020, with prices up 9.7 percent in the year to November.
The average cost of a home in London is now £514,000, as the city remains the most expensive place in the country to buy a property.
Commenting on surging prices in the capital, George Franks, co-founder of Radstock Property, said: “Considering England was in national lockdown for most of November, and a growing number of people are looking to move away from big cities in favour of more space, the resilience of the capital’s property market is staggering.
“Despite the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic and the shift to remote working, London is neither down nor out.”