Manifestos are unlikely to affect the market

Deborah Richards of Maddisons Residential takes the temperature of the housing market ahead of the impending election on July 4…

A common question of the moment is unsurprisingly: “How do you feel the General Election will impact the property market?”

Many believe it will cause uncertainty, making now a bad time to sell.  However, research and analysis of previous General Elections reveals that this is not true.

Many predicted that the election would be called in the autumn.  However, with inflation at last nearing the Government and Bank of England target, the economy feeling broadly stable and the opinion polls not as conclusive as expected, Rishi Sunak’s decision is maybe not a surprise. 

For the last two years now, the spring market has certainly been the dominant selling market, and this year has been no exception.  There was a slight concern that activity may suddenly cool as the result of the surprise announcement, but as I write now, at Maddisons we are seeing no decline in enquiry levels from either buyers or sellers, and deals continue to be agreed and completed. 

Research from Rightmove supports what we are seeing.  Their recent poll of 14,322 buyers found that 95% were determined to proceed with their homebuying or selling plans despite the election.  Further analysis of year-on-year buyer demand for the 2015 and 2019 elections also revealed steady activity in the lead-up to the vote.   

Analysis of Government house price data by eXp UK has further shown that home sellers should not be fearing an election-induced house price slump.  They found that house price growth in the year following the last 10 general elections, stretching back to 1983, increased by a respectable 5.4% on average, after allowing for inflation.  

In fact, since 1983, house prices have increased every year following a General Election, except for in 1992 and 2010, when of course the market was still in recovery following the early 1990s recession and the 2008 financial crisis. 

Different manifestos from the political parties are equally unlikely to affect the market.  They may address new home developments and stamp duty for first time buyers, but for most it will simply be more of the same. 

Furthermore, we now seem to live in a constantly evolving social, economical and political climate.  Recently we have seen a departure from the EU, a pandemic, a war in Ukraine and a cost-of-living crisis.  And whilst the changing backdrop of our lives may change, the changing needs that our homes need to meet do not.  Families still want more space and close proximity to great schooling.  Downsizers still want to free up equity to help their children and live in a home that requires less upkeep.  Divorces and deaths sadly continue.  

Of course, Tunbridge Wells recently learned that our long-serving MP, Greg Clarke, will not be standing for another term, commenting that it is ‘time to pass the baton on’.  

His recent words asserted his love for our town: “I have felt proud and grateful to be able to speak and fight in the House of Commons for the people of this beautiful place”.  

These words summarise why I believe the spring market in Tunbridge Wells will continue to run, and additionally the autumn market will now be a strong selling season.  Our beautiful town with its fabulous amenities, historical architecture, green open spaces, first-class schooling options and transport links will continue to be where many want to call home, regardless of the events that continue to form the backdrop to our lives.

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