Tags: wilbur ross | brexit | financial suicide | europe

Wilbur Ross: Vote for Brexit is 'Financial Suicide' for British Homeowners

Wilbur Ross: Vote for Brexit is 'Financial Suicide' for British Homeowners


By    |   Thursday, 23 June 2016 08:32 AM

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross predicts British home prices will plummet if the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union in "financial suicide" for many homeowners.

Older people are skewing to vote to leave the EU in Thursday's referendum, according to polls. Ross sees a home price collapse hitting older Britons particularly hard. Ross said a majority of Britons over age 60 own their homes.

"The average house in the U.K. is about 250,000 pounds, and if it went down around 10 percent, which I think could very well happen, that would wipe out half the net worth of most of the older people who own their own homes," he told CNBC.

"I think they would be committing financial suicide," warned Ross, chairman and chief strategy officer of WL Ross investment company. The bulk of WL Ross' business in the U.K. is in mortgage lending, CNBC reported.

Ross believes home prices would sink because foreign direct investment from Europe and exports to the continent would be interrupted.

Financial markets and bookmakers put their money on Britain's voting to remain a part of the European Union on Thursday in a historic referendum that threatens to undermine the experiment in continental unity launched in the aftermath of World War II.

More than 46 million people were registered to vote in the referendum, which asks: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" The heated campaign saw the nation take stock of its place in the modern world and question the direction it wanted to take in the future.

"Leave" campaigners claim that only a British exit can restore power to Parliament and control immigration. The "remain" campaign led by Prime Minister David Cameron argues that Britain is safer and richer inside the 28-nation EU.

Financial markets have been volatile ahead of the vote, with opinion polls suggesting a tight race, but the pound surged Thursday amid market optimism that uncertainty over the vote would end with a vote to stay, the Associated Press reported.

The bookies also clearly saw momentum to "remain." The betting market Betfair said the probability that the country will stay stands at 86 percent, with a British exit, or Brexit, given just a 14 percent chance.

Also buoying the markets was an opinion poll conducted by the Ipsos MORI firm for the Evening Standard newspaper which suggested the "remain" camp winning by a narrow margin.

The International Monetary Fund has previously said a Brexit could hurt the fragile global economy.

An investor and businessman who made his billions advising bankruptcies and restructuring flailing companies, Ross was No. 20 in Newsmax's 100 Most Influential Business Leaders in America.

Ross is a force in the steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investments, and textiles industries. He spent 25 years with Rothschild Inc.'s bankruptcy practice and then founded investment firm WL Ross in 2000. It was acquired by Invesco in 2006. He has spent the recent years turning around troubled banks, first the Bank of Ireland and then the Bank of Cyprus.

Ross successfully bet on the Irish banking system when it was on the ropes. Ross is known for restructuring failed companies in industries such as steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investment and textiles. As of June 2015, Forbes listed Ross’ net worth at $3 billion.

Ross, who specializes in leveraged buyouts and distressed businesses, leads a group of investors who last year poured 1.3 billion euros ($1.47 billion), into Eurobank Ergasias, the third-largest bank in Greece, the New York Times said.

(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).

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Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross predicts British home prices will plummet if the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union.
wilbur ross, brexit, financial suicide, europe
Thursday, 23 June 2016 08:32 AM
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