Real estate companies watched their shares plummet this morning as the City reacted to the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Housebuilder stocks were among the worst hit, with initial losses as high as 40% at one point for Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, and Berkeley Homes. However, stocks rallied and currently sit around 20% down.
Listed commercial property investors and developers also took a battering. By mid morning, the UK’s biggest property company Land Securities was down 16%, with British Land down 18%, Great Portland Estates down nearly 19%, Derwent London down 23%, and Hammerson down 11%.
In total, more than £100bn was wiped off the FTSE 100 in minutes of trading this morning as the index plunged 8.4% and the pound plummeted to a 31-year low.
Shares did rally after the initial collapse, but remained nearly 5% down by 11am.
Among the agencies, Savills’ shares were down more than 17% at the same stage, while Countrywide was down nearly 22%.
There were heavy losses across Europe, with the main index in Germany down 10% in early trading. In France the main share index lost 5%.
Japan’s main stock exchange lost 7%, the biggest one-day fall since the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
Currency trading was volatile, with the pound initially higher as polls closed last night and some opinion polls pointed to a victory for the Remain campaign.
Those gains evaporated as results came in from across the country and a Leave vote became clear.
In early morning trading, the pound was down against the dollar almost 10% at $1.34, compared with $1.50 just after polling stations closed. That was the lowest since 1985. The pound was down around 7% against the euro.
With markets braced for turmoil over coming days, safer assets such as gold were in high demand. The precious metal, a long-time favourite investment in uncertain times, soared as much as 7% at one point.