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Vendors warned to not risk waiting for General Election to list their homes

Waiting for a General Election is risky for sellers after the so-called Boris bounce in the property market failed to deliver after the previous national poll, research suggests.

Estate agency brand Winkworth commissioned analysts at Dataloft to look at price changes before and after the six General Elections since May 1997. 

Using Land Registry figures, the research showed in the three months before the December 2019 election, prices increased across the UK by 4.2%. 

Three months after the election, the price increase was just 0.7% and in prime central London, prices fell 9.4%.

Average prices rose by almost the same percentage in advance of Tony Blair’s win in 1997, as before Boris Johnson’s victory in 2019.

Only in the 2005, 2010 and 2017 elections did the price growth surpass the preceding period. In the remaining four elections, prices continued to grow in the three months post-election, but at a lower rate. 

Pre-election uncertainty has a short-term impact, according to the research, slowing the number of sales in the three to four months before voting day. This pattern holds true for six out of the last seven elections.

Once the election result is known, the increased certainty over the political landscape and policies will normally allow the markets to pick up momentum again, according to the research.

Dataloft’s report states: “Waiting to put a property on the market after an election, with the hope of achieving a much higher price, could be a risky strategy.” 

According to the research, it takes 10 days less to sell a home in spring than winter. Over the past five years, excluding 2020 due to Covid, 27% of sales took place in spring, the highest of any of the seasons. 

Speaking on Winkworth’s Property Exchange podcast, chief executive Dominic Agace said: “The biggest house price growth came when Blair was in power. We saw a rise of £48 a day on the average property price, which is contrary to popular belief that the Thatcher era saw the biggest growth due to Right to Buy.”

The effect of a General Election is to distract people in the three months leading up to polling day.  

Agace added: “Politicians are pushing policies to win votes and the politics can be more extreme than the reality of what happens once a party is in power.  In 2019, there was a binary choice between Corbyn and Johnson. From a property perspective, housebuilders would probably prefer to see a Labour government – that must be a first.”

  • Stuart Forsdike PCS Legal

    The first 3 months of 2024 have been excellent and it feels the only thing that will stop this period of increased actively is an election ............ the uncertainly will definitely cool interest in moving until after so lets hope its kicked into next year

  • Richard Copus

    The Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 was repealed in 2022 and a General Election can be held at any time up to 5 years from the last one. 17th December, 2024 is exactly 5 years from the date of the previous General election so the GE cannot be kicked into next year legally. But will a Starmer Labour Government with social democratic policies make any real difference to the residential property market? Probably not. So carry on regardless. You know it makes sense!


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