What will the general election mean for the property market?


On Wednesday, the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced that a General Election will be held on Thursday 4th July 2024. Parliament will be dissolved next Thursday, May 30th.

As you might expect, the announcement has prompted speculation from various quarters as to what impact the upcoming election might have on the property market.

According to Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, housing “must be a key theme that all political parties are placing front and centre of their general election campaigns” since it is the “cornerstone for every single community across the UK” and “the foundation to a strong economy”.

Emerson added: “Many successive governments have failed to keep pace with demand, and we would encourage potential policy makers from all sides to place a rejuvenated emphasis on tackling current issues and meeting future demand. 

“There must be a sustainable mix of housing solutions for both buyers and renters, as well as a commitment to ensuring the UK leads regarding innovation, quality, and environmental sustainability. 

“In addition, any new government must ensure there is comprehensive support in place for first-time buyers to prevent the prospect of home ownership being out of reach, but equally ensure the housing market remains balanced for all. It is also important there is a full scale commitment to ensure wider infrastructure is also planned for, as we witness an ever growing population.”

Meanwhile,  Oli Sherlock, managing director of insurance at Goodlord, believes the Renters (Reform) Bill is now in ‘major doubt’ with the election scheduled for 4th July.

“This will be deeply frustrating for the whole industry, which is desperate for clarity,” he said. “Should the bill not be pushed through as part of the wash-up we will be back to square one. The best we can hope for is that the next government, whoever it’s led by, puts housing and the PRS at the heart of their agenda.”

Stuart Forsdike, founding partner of PCS Legal, raised the prospect of a cut in stamp duty and conveyancing reform.

He said: “The upcoming General Election will undoubtedly bring the housing market, and hopefully the conveyancing process, to the forefront of the political agenda. Many are hopeful that this will lead to a cut in stamp duty, alleviating some of the financial burden of moving and helping to stimulate market activity.

 “However, the issues facing the housing market go beyond just stamp duty. The entire moving process is currently so fragmented and stressful that it acts as a significant deterrent to potential movers. The complexity and inefficiency of the conveyancing process alone contributes to this stress and requires reform.  

“A complete overhaul to make the moving process more fluid and straightforward should be a priority on the agenda of all political parties. High costs and cumbersome procedures are major barriers to mobility in the housing market. Addressing these issues by simplifying and making the process more transparent could lead to increased activity and satisfaction among homeowners and buyers alike, ultimately benefiting the wider economy.”

Robin Rathore, CEO of Bamboo Auctions, simply hopes news of the election will bring some certainty to the property market.

 He said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement of a summer general election is a welcome one. With news of inflation close to the Bank of England’s target, and an interest rate drop looking likely soon, the news will be welcome for buyers, sellers and estate agents who have experienced a fragile market in recent months and have been waiting for green shoots, which will arrive with the certainty of an election result. 

“Although the next six weeks will be slightly tougher for those new sellers entering the market, there is a chance for buyers to take advantage of a quieter market and potentially flex their purchasing power in what will be a short window of opportunity. 

“The property market can look forward to an active second half of the year, where we expect to see an increase in transactions and a more committed return to the market from buyers.”

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