But many are going to the polls utterly confused, saying the information has been muddy and the campaigns deceitful.
It depends who you are.
One alternative possibility, however, is that mortgage payments could come down. If a Brexit does rock the UK economy as widely predicted, the central bank may be forced to cut interest rates further. This could ease payments for those on some types of mortgages, and for new home buyers. But with historically low interest rates already, the bank has little room to make significant cuts so its impact may be limited.
Winkworth CEO Dominic Agace does not think a Brexit would necessarily be catastrophic for the real estate market. Britain and London in particular “always had a draw for foreign investment, not only from Europe but much further afield,” he said.
“And I would expect this to continue whatever the [referendum] outcome, especially as people come for many reasons including schools and the lifestyle.”
Even after Brexit, the EU would unlikely try to restrict British people entering the region for a holiday. The most likely scenario is that British nationals would be treated much the same as those from other countries with close ties, meaning they could enter the Schengen zone but their passports would be stamped and they would join non-EU citizen lines at entry points.
Some supporters of remaining in the European Union say EU regulations keep flight prices low.
“It enabled airlines like easyJet to offer passengers lower fares to more destinations. All airlines were forced to respond to this new competitive environment and all passengers have benefited. People can live, work, study and travel across Europe in a way previous generations could not have imagined,” easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall said in a statement.
“The only way to guarantee that this continues is for the UK to remain part of the EU.”
But Richard Whitman, a senior fellow at London think-tank Chatham House, said Britain’s market was significant enough that low-cost carriers would likely keep prices down anyway to stay competitive.
“Low-cost carriers are operating between Europe and the United States at very affordable prices, for example, and they’re not part of the EU’s single market. Air travel is so competitive by nature, airliners will do what they can to keep prices low,” Whitman told CNN.
“If Britain votes remain, you can imagine the markets would suddenly bounce. We would see all economic indicators starting to look a bit more rosy,” Whitman from Chatham House said.
“If the margin is very narrow, it might not be immediately clear that the country has the mandate to leave or stay. That would open up discussions in parliament, which could be a long process, and that uncertainty would have a negative impact on the markets,” Whitman said.
Many of the UK’s top universities have come out in favor of remaining in the European Union. Most say a Brexit would threaten research funding from Europe, make access to European academic staff more difficult and cause a decline in enrollment numbers.
The EU students are considered domestic students because of the UK’s EU membership. They pay the same fees and have access to the same financial aid.
A Brexit might save the UK government some money because it wouldn’t have to provide assistance to EU students but academics say the losses in research funding would far outweigh that benefit.
It is unclear what would happen to this program should the UK leave the union. There are fears that students could be cut off from the Erasmus grant which allows students to travel across the continent.
The Expat in Britain
A Brexit divorce could take two years so it is unlikely anything will change soon in terms of free movement of labor which allows EU citizens to enter the UK to find work and vice-versa.
If a different type of trade deal is made, EU citizens could be subject to the immigration system non-EU citizens go through.
Brexit leaders have, however, suggested that EU citizens already in Britain would be given permission to stay in the country indefinitely but any other citizens wanting to immigrate would go through the new system.
Some citizens from outside the EU, particularly from Commonwealth countries like Australia and Canada, have complained that this is discriminatory. A group of Bangladeshi curry house owners, for example, say they can’t get enough chefs from Asia because of tighter immigration rules on non-EU citizens.
Jobs are often advertised only for people who already have the right to work in the UK, which usually means British and other EU citizens, or those with family ties to the country. This has become common practice since 2004 when free movement of labor was introduced.
At the moment, the balance of EU and non-EU immigrants in the country is near 50-50, even though it is more difficult for non-EU citizens to immigrate to Europe. This is a sign that interest in immigration from outside the EU is significant, so if the incentive to hire EU citizens is taken away from employers, Britons may start to see more Aussies, Americans and Asians filling vacant jobs.
The British Expat
There are concerns that a Brexit would make these British nationals illegal immigrants overnight — or at least when the EU and UK settle their divorce.
“It is unlikely that governments will go to the dramatic measure of kicking out resident British nationals from their countries, unless of course, Britain kicks out EU nationals from its country first,” said Whitman, from Chatham House.
So it appears that expats already abroad will have a legal argument to stay. But those wishing to move abroad may face greater restrictions. To find a job they may need to go through a visa application.
New conditions may be imposed for UK citizens wanting to settle in the EU for retirement, particularly if they are no longer entitled to all public services such as healthcare. They may need to prove a greater level of financial independence.
The European Health Insurance Card gives British people free or lower-cost healthcare in the European Union. The future of reciprocal healthcare would need to be renegotiated in a Brexit divorce.
It could be a messy area, as a key complaint among Brexiteers has been that uncontrolled immigration is stretching the country’s health services. And if Britain does not want to offer Europeans free healthcare, it is unlikely to get free care for its own citizens in Europe.
There has been much chatter about another Scottish independence referendum should the UK vote to leave the European Union. Polls suggest that Scottish people support remaining in the EU, and MPs there have even suggested switching to the euro if the pound loses significant value.
In 2014 the Scottish voted to remain part of the UK but the referendum brought so much momentum to Scottish nationalism that another vote on the issue is possible.
Whitman from Chatham House said that while a Brexit would give steam to the Scottish independence movement, a referendum would unlikely be around the corner.
“The timescale is important — the Scottish National Party (SNP) — can afford to bide their time. In a Brexit, they would hold all the cards, they will have the political power. But they’ll want to see what kind of deal Britain can strike first and if they do want another referendum, they’ll wait for the most opportune moment,” he said.
Scotland could instead use the scenario to negotiate even more regional power, Whitman suggested.