November 1

Housing Market in Election Mode: Insights from an Agency


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Understanding the dynamics of the UK housing market goes beyond just tracking price indices or heeding the Bank of England. According to Tom Bill, a research expert at Knight Frank, the real barometer lies within the political landscape. As the nation eagerly anticipates a series of policy announcements scheduled to coincide with the forthcoming Autumn Statement in just three weeks, it’s evident that politics is now playing a central role in shaping the housing market’s trajectory.

Knight Frank underscores that this shift towards political influence over market dynamics has already begun to materialize. Recent media reports suggest that the government is actively considering a range of measures aimed at supporting prospective homebuyers. These initiatives encompass an extension of the mortgage guarantee scheme, which allows lenders to provide 95 percent mortgages, as well as proposals encouraging individuals to save for a deposit.

The role of Parliament in shaping the housing market has become increasingly prominent, and the direction of the market hinges on these political decisions. This emphasis on government policies and initiatives underscores the evolving nature of the UK housing sector. With the Autumn Statement approaching, the housing market awaits further insights into the government’s strategies to bolster homeownership and stimulate market activity. In this context, political developments within Parliament serve as a key indicator of the housing market’s future prospects, superseding traditional market metrics and central bank decisions.

However, Bill offers a word of caution: “There’s a limit to what the government can achieve, especially considering the broader context of interest rates returning to normal after a 14-year hiatus. The past 18 months have been a rollercoaster for both homebuyers and those looking to remortgage. Stubbornly high inflation has resulted in a relatively subdued autumn uptick in the housing market this year. Buyers are grappling with higher rates, while sellers are adjusting to lower asking prices.”

He goes on to highlight a potentially more attention-grabbing proposal being contemplated by the Chancellor—a reduction in stamp duty. Bill emphasizes that such cuts should be implemented promptly, with any increases or the phasing out of a stamp duty holiday occurring gradually rather than abruptly. This approach is crucial to preventing the risk of a start-and-stop housing market or one that becomes congested and unpredictable.

Furthermore, he notes, “The current speculations are clouded by the fact that opinion polls are currently suggesting a change in government next year. Therefore, discussions surrounding the government’s potential actions or inactions may seem somewhat speculative at this point.”

This uncertainty extends to the Renters Reform Bill currently progressing through Parliament. Debates have arisen regarding the abolition of Section 21 no-fault evictions and whether this should be contingent on the courts’ preparedness to handle the increased workload. It has evolved into a highly charged political discourse, with the possibility that a Labour government might move forward with abolishing no-fault evictions, irrespective of the courts’ readiness.

Bill concludes by emphasizing, “While the official campaigning has not yet commenced, the growing list of uncertainties underscores that the countdown to the election has already begun for the UK housing market.”


Read more Property Investing News HERE


General Election, Housing Market UK, Knight Frank

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