Politics put property market on hold for third summer in a row

Estate agents are anticipating a sluggish period between now and the snap general election, called yesterday for June 8.

As Henry Pryor yesterday tweeted: “For the third year running the summer selling market has been put on hold by politics.”

Philip Woolner, joint managing partner of Cheffins, said he expected that the snap election would elongate people’s decision-making process on whether to move or invest in property.

London agent Jeremy Leaf said: “This uncertainty will prevail until the election result is known because nobody knows what the outcome will be.

“The period of indecision starts from now until the election. Thankfully it is relatively short. Inevitably, a lot of decision-making will be put on hold, particularly as the polls fluctuate, and that includes the decision to buy and sell property.

“As we saw from the EU Referendum, the polls can be notoriously unreliable, which can only add to nervousness in the market.

“Looking forward, on the positive side if the result is decisive either way that will give the Government a greater mandate for its existing policies and is likely to result in a surge in activity in the housing market at least for the honeymoon period afterwards, however long that may last.”

David Westgate, chief executive of Andrews, said: “Theresa May’s announcement that she intends to seek the support of MPs to hold a snap election on June 8 undoubtedly came as a surprise, but we must not let it destabilise the property market.

“Elections can lead to uncertainty and that can affect confidence; however, the mechanics of the market are such that it is driven by demand and that remains extremely high at the moment.

“As an industry, we need to seek ways to encourage more stock to enter the market and ensure that sellers do not delay a sale until after the election has been held.”

In what looks inevitably to be a single-issue election, ARLA and NAEA Propertymark and the Residential Landlords Association issued appeals for political parties to put housing at the top of their manifestos.

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, also said that he was waiting to find out whether the timing of the election would have an impact on the tenant fees consultation.

He said he expected the consultation to continue, but added: “We are seeking clarification from DCLG on this point and whether or not the workshops will take place.”

The housing market has had to get used to political uncertainty, not to mention a dizzying revolving door of housing ministers.

The June 8 general election follows last year’s EU referendum, which in turn followed the 2015 general election.

There have been two housing ministers since this time a year ago, with the likelihood of another post-election no matter who gets in.

Altogether, since 1997, there have been 14 housing ministers – compared with five prime ministers.


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