The industry has broadly welcomed the shock announcement of a June 8 General Election as a chance to end long term Brexit uncertainty and give the housing market a boost after the six week campaign is over.
“The good news is that unlike many government announcements which are leaked, they managed to it secret and there hasn’t been any build-up” says Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman.
“The indecision starts from now until the election and thankfully it is relatively short. Inevitably, a lot of decision-making will be put on hold, particularly as polls fluctuate, and that includes the decision to buy and sell property. If the result is decisive ... 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” he says.
David Westgate, chief executive of Andrews Property Group, says it’s critical the snap poll does not 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” he says, adding: “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. We’re very much taking the ‘business as usual’ approach.”
The founder of online agency Tepilo, Sarah Beeny, has told Estate Agent Today that the election was an enormous surprise but “it means that the government, if re-elected, will be able to have a clean slate - and that’s probably good for the housing market.”
John Phillips, group operations director of SpicerHaart and Just Mortgages says: “The election is great news for the country as it gets much of the uncertainty out of the way. With a weak opposition Theresa May will undoubtedly win and it means that she can go into the Brexit negotiations knowing that she has the weight of the country behind her.”
However, there was disagreement from buying agent and housing market commentator Henry Pryor who tweeted a moving image of a house exploding with the message: “Thinking of putting your house on the market? For the third year running the summer selling market has been put ‘on hold’ by politics.”
Earlier, Pryor tweeted a reminder that in addition to this year’s early summer election, there was a summer election won by David Cameron in June 2015 and the EU Referendum held in June 2016.
Meanwhile the Department of Communities and Local Government has confirmed that one piece of outstanding business - consultation on the proposed ban of letting agents’ fees imposed on tenants in England - will continue as before. Its closing date in June 2, just under a week before the General Election.