The White Paper leaves many of the real estate sector's questions unanswered. Whilst it will be some comfort to developers that there will be free movement of goods, hopefully limiting the impact of Brexit on the availability and cost of materials, lack of clarity on immigration rules remains a concern. The building industry employs many EU citizens, and a Government review has already acknowledged that a shortage of bricklayers is a potential barrier to achieving the Government's targets on housebuilding. This situation is only likely to be exacerbated by ending the free movement of people.
In addition, those within the sector who rely on overseas workers, for example hotels, are also left in limbo, pending publication of more details on the proposed immigration system.
It is likely, though, that the sector's key concern will be seeing what impact the White Paper has on the market, and demand for different types of assets. While the aspirations for a youth mobility scheme, to ensure overseas students can continue to enjoy UK universities, is welcome, it isn't clear that this alone will be enough to avoid a drop in the number of EU students. And there will continue to be a question mark over the nature of future office demand until there is much more certainty on the new arrangements for services, and particularly financial services.