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Property Market Holds Breath As Buyers ‘Wait And See’ Election Effect

5 June 2017

As reported before, property experts have been uneasy about what Britain’s departure from the EU will mean for the housing market, and many have been cautious about the volatile market, with property prices falling and many buyers reluctant to buy. The Daily Mail this week has picked up on this, with one article noting that the looming general election on June 8th have also contributed to wary buyers in the market.

The article mentions that property sales have dropped 20% as buyers adopt a ”wait and see” position ahead of the general election due to take place early next month. According to statistics from NAEA Propertymark, an industry body, each branch of estate agents had agreed sales on 8 properties, a decrease from 10 in March, and it also found that the supply of homes available and the number of those searching for a property fell in respect of the upcoming election. There were 36 properties available to buy last month, compared to 39 properties in March, recording an 8% drop. NAEA also reported that the number of buyers registered with each branch fell from 425 at the beginning of the year, to 397 in March and then down to 381 in April. However, with the shortage of property availability, the proportion being sold for the above asking price increased 1 in 14 in April, from 1 in 20 in March.

NAEA believes the reason for these decreases are due to the uncertainty triggered by the snap General Election, remarking that buyers have put their plans on hold and waiting to see what happens with the results. The article presented comments from Mark Hayward, the chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, observed: ”Periods of political uncertainty tend to halt activity in the housing market, and this is exactly what we’re seeing this month.” What we’ve seen with Brexit, we are now seeing with the nearing General Election. He continues:  ”All of the main political parties have outlined significant housing promises in their manifestos and we’d hope to see these policies rolled out in the new Government’s first six to 12 months in Parliament. Buyers and sellers alike are recognizing this and adopting a ‘wait and see’ strategy to decipher how or if the value of their existing or future homes will be affected.”

Mr Hayward also voices concerns over the manifestos of politicians, and reflects: ”More often than not we find these pledges are unachievable and turn out to be empty promises. It’s therefore important that the market doesn’t totally stall as this could trigger an unintended domino effect, which we could still feel the effect of years later before supply increases. A business as usual approach will ensure house-hunters are met with a healthy supply of properties to view, and sellers get a fair price and a good buyer.”

What we find ourselves with here is the effects that political issues can have on the property market. As buyers take a back seat and observe what will happen after the General Election is held in a few weeks time, the housing market can have some rest from the constant struggle between an increasing demand and a slowed down supply of homes, as well as the constant strain of house price instability.