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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agents delighted at Conservative victory

The agency industry has been acting with delight over the likelihood that there will be a slim overall majority for the Conservatives in the new parliament.

Foxtons’ shares rose 13 per cent in the opening hour on the stock market this morning; Savills' shares rose about 7.5 per cent. Meanwhile central London chain Douglas & Gordon predicted that capital values in prime London would double in the next five years thanks to the result. 

Countrywide’s chief executive Alison Platt says a flurry of activity is now likely.

“We now expect there to be greater activity in the housing market, especially in the £2m-plus markets facing the prospect of a Mansion Tax. We anticipate this Conservative government to turn its attention from implementing policies that stimulated demand in the housing market to addressing the lack of housing supply” she says. 

Edward Heaton, who leads the high-end buying agency Heaton and Partners, says: “Prime country house prices could rise by as much as 10 per cent within weeks. There will be bun fights in the next few weeks for the best houses which come to the market as confidence in the top-end of the regional market returns.”

Savills’ research head, Lucian Cook - who had been a vocal opponent of the mansion tax in particular and was rebuked by former shadow chancellor Ed Balls for leading a Savills ‘scaremongering’ campaign - led the agency’s response to the results. 

“We expect much of the deferred demand from the pre-election period to flow back into the prime market over the remainder of 2015 and 2016, particularly given that the spectre of a mansion tax is now removed from the market” he says, although he then adds that prime central London markets were already looking “much more fully priced” than other parts of the capital, even before the election.

Nonetheless, Savills’ year prime market forecasts are for “steady growth” -  its description for a 22.7 per cent rise in prime London prices and a 23.9 per cent rise in prime property prices outside the capital. 

In Scotland, John Coleman of Smiths Gore - a rural agency recently acquired by Savills and about to be rebranded - says last year’s referendum had already led to the ‘factoring in’ of the SNP surge into the housing market. “It is now clear that we will have a strong Scottish government which will give some certainty to the market” he says. 

However, not everyone believes the result is undiluted good news.

Adam Day of online estate agency Hatched says the result may make the market more buoyuant and push up prices unreasonably. “Prices are already far too high for buyers across the UK. I also believe passionately that everyone should have the chance to own their own home and all the help being offered to first time buyers, fuelling demand and therefore prices, means the Conservatives have not got it all right” says Day.

And Dominic Agace, chief executive officer of Winkworth estate agents, says the Tories should not be complacent. “The Tories need to ensure that more houses get built. I would like to see them making moves to get homes built on brownfield sites that they have identified."

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Self-interest trumps sense. Of course the high-end agents are delighted, they can continue to turn London into a billionaires' plaything, pushing everyone else into the overpriced and overcrowded PRS. Buy-to-let will boom, the number of rogue landlords will increase, and still nothing will be done to solve the housing shortage.

    Plenty to look forward to then.

  • Kelly Evans

    Sour grapes. You lost, suck it up!

  • icon

    What a great result, lets get on with business. Nice to see Ed Balls ousted. Milliband will be sacked today. Our business relies on market and economic confidence and that's what we have got for the next 5 years - roll on

  • Richard White

    "Self interest trumps sense". Really? It's pretty obvious that the reason prices and rents in London have rocketed is a simple case of supply and demand and Labour have been more responsible for the demand part of the equation than anybody else in history. If you can't supply the product, don't create the demand in the first place.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    How many houses have the Tories built in the last five years? How have they got in with reducing immigration, as they promised? If you make London incredibly attractive for super-rich investors, it affects the whole market.

    Not saying Labour would have been the perfect solution - certainly not in their current form - but to say the Conservatives are the saviours of the housing industry is pushing things to the extreme.

  • Daniel Roder

    Blimey, who saw this coming? Total cockup from the pollsters - they weren't even close to being right. Maybe the media will think twice now before treating their data as sacrosanct.

    Not the ideal result by any means, but hopefully the Tories will now commit to placing housing at the top of their agenda. It's arguably, along with the NHS, the biggest issue we face at the moment. A mature, balanced discussion on housing policy, free from tribalism and political point-scoring, is something we desperately need.

    There are plenty of big questions that need answering. Let's see how they get on.

  • Richard White

    I'm not saying the Conservatives are saviours in the least. I am a realist, however. If the money does not exist to fund the health service and education properly, where is it going to come from to build new housing stock? The problem, as you say, has been fuelled by uncapped immigration and we all know that nothing is or will be done about that. Labours grubby paw prints are all over the problem and the Conservatives are complicit in the crime.

  • Brit Sixteen Sixty Four

  • Brit Sixteen Sixty Four

    RE "Douglas & Gordon predicted that capital values in prime London would double in the next five years thanks to the result."

    The only prices can double is more money laundering, cheaper/more irresponsible lending and massive property speculation. Thus is going to end in tears, we already have a giant housing bubble which is unsustainable. Where are all the normal people going to live? You can't have a healthy economy with out key workers, shop workers, office workers, builders, plumbers, electricians etc.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    @Richard White - it's too easy and simplistic to blame the problems on immigration. If supply had been anywhere close to keeping up with demand in recent years, this wouldn't have been a problem. Even if you reduced immigration, you'd still have to build more house - because we haven't got enough of them.

    It's tired and lazy, and what has fuelled the rise of far-right extreme parties like UKIP, to blame everything on immigration. There's been a major flaw in housing policy for a long time now, and successive governments have failed to do anything about it. Having presided over the lowest level of housebuilding since the 30s, the Tories have been more guilty of failing at it than most.

  • Richard White

    @ Jon Tarrey - UKIP are not far-right. They are, to all intents and purposes the Conservative party with the Liberal element removed. You are simply wheeling out the tired leftist mantra that the public was so sick of hearing, they gave UKIP 4 million votes on the back of it.

    "Even if you reduced immigration, you'd still have to build more houses - because we haven't got enough of them." Quite. You seem to be suggesting that because we'd be stuffed even with no immigration, we may as well be well and truly stuffed with it. In terms of fallacious arguments, this seems a difficult one to trump. Common sense would suggest that it's easier to deal with a small problem than a huge one, although as we all know, there is no common sense in left-land.

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