Thursday 23 June ticks ever closer to what could prove to be the most important decision that the people of this country make in a lifetime – whether to remain a member of or leave the European Union.

The result of the vote, I suspect will have a significant effect on FTSE 100. Whether that’s positive or negative will depend on which way the vote goes on the day. However, much like the UK’s General Election last year, I think that the results are just too close to call.

Short-term opportunity?

There’s no doubt that the fast approaching referendum is causing a great deal of uncertainty with many individual stocks. As we can see from the below chart, the three shares under review today have all been negatively impacted by the economic uncertainty events like this can cause.

Most notable is London-focused Berkeley Group (LSE: BKG) with the shares losing 20% over the last three months. That seems rather strange for a business, which in March informed the market that earnings for the year ending June 2016 would be at the top end of analyst expectations. Indeed, if this was a share in a different sector then I think it would be safe to say that the shares would have rerated.

This theme holds true with both Persimmon (LSE: PSN) and Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) too, with both companies reporting general consumer confidence supported by a growing economy and good availability of credit.

When these factors combine with other positive trends the outcome is a positive trading environment. So to me, the downward movement in the share price for all of these housebuilders is more down to sentiment than current trading. The uncertainty of an out vote, and more importantly the concern of the effect this would have on consumer confidence, are both impacting the shares.


Longer term gain?

Turning to the longer-term three-year chart (which allows us to relax a little more as some of the price swings that come with owning shares don’t look quite as scary) and we can see that all three companies have outperformed the FTSE 100 benchmark by some margin.

Indeed, it’s interesting to see that these shares are either at or approaching the level where they stood prior to the 7 May General Election. If you cast your mind back 12 months you’ll recall the prospect of a hung parliament, a proposed mansion tax and uncertainty surrounding the help-to-buy scheme.

As it turned out, the Conservatives gained a majority and as the chart showed the housebuilders enjoyed a particularly strong rally.

Upgraded dividend appeal

As readers who are familiar with my articles will already be aware, I’m a big fan of dividends. I find that this can have a positive effect on company management by providing an anchor to the board, so that they remain disciplined in the allocation of my capital.

And to me it seems that this theme is continuing with all the businesses promising to return excess capital to shareholders.

With the current share price falls, investors who buy now can expect yields of between 6% and 7% – although it may be wise to wait and see whether we wish to remain in Europe first.

Let's face it, investors love juicy dividends, and if these housebuilder shares aren't for you, then you should take a look at this report prepared by one of The Motley Fool's top income advisors, James Early, who's found a share that has stirred his interest.

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Dave Sullivan has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Berkeley Group Holdings. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.