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Property industry reaction: Boris Johnson to be Prime Minister

As Boris wins a decisive victory in his bid to become the next leader of the Conservative party what does the industry ask of him as he moves into No.10?

Nigel Lewis

boris johnson

Whether you’re over the moon or underwhelmed, Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister of the UK.

He’s got form in the housing sector including his relatively unsuccessful attempt to introduce a minimum ‘rental standard’ in London when he was mayor, but now takes charge of a government that has several flagship housing market measures under way.

Will Bojo keep his housing team as it is? Will he alter James Brokenshire’s plans to reform Section 21 evictions, reform leasehold ownership, regulate estate agency and set up a publicly-available database of rogue landlords and agents? And will he follow through on his promise to reform Stamp duty. It will be an interesting few weeks.

Industry reaction

Ian McKenzie imageIain McKenzie, CEO, The Guild of Property Professionals (left): “I am in favour of anyone who is going to improve sentiment or confidence in the housing market. Current economic data is strong but the uncertainty of Brexit has caused stagnation in the market. Mr Johnson’s commitment to “deliver Brexit” on 31st October with a new “can do” spirit is therefore very much welcomed.

“Going forward with Boris as Prime Minister, I would also welcome any positive move on stamp duty or the additional taxes on landlords.

“The Guild has been actively promoting best practice in estate agency for 25 years, including our code of conduct for members and trading standards accredited training scheme. We therefore wholeheartedly support the government’s most recent proposals for strengthening redress and regulating the industry, giving consumers greater confidence that whether buying (re-sale or a new home), selling, letting or renting a property, they are dealing with a professional agent and there is a clear route to redress in the event of a dispute.

“However, the one big thing I would like to see happen in the future is the removal of the housing sector from parliamentary control.  It should no longer be a political football kicked around by any party to gain political favour. To deliver much needed change in the sector, we need stability and clarity of direction.”

Glynis Frew - Hunters - imageGlynis Frew, CEO of Hunters (left): “His emphasis on home ownership and plans for stamp duty spell good news, although the same cannot be said for the inevitable cabinet reshuffle which is likely to result in a new housing secretary at the cabinet table and possibly a new housing minister.

“It’s difficult to get to grips with the revolving door approach. Who does it benefit? No strategy to improve our industry and marketplace can ever be properly carried out with all this chopping and changing. Whether it’s chronic undersupply, the affordability crisis or the regulatory environment, it just doesn’t feel like these key issues are being treated seriously enough.”

“Giving housing its own standalone position at the cabinet table is a sensible way to show they are. The 2018 re-branding of government departments didn’t go far enough. I’d like to see that position with long term backing from the PM and with a brief to carry out a 15-20 year housing strategy, which is based on a proper understanding of the industry resulting in realistic predictions, policies and compromise, not buzz words and hyperbole.”

Marc von Grundherr imageMarc von Grundherr, MD of Behan & Reeves, (left), says: “A new prime minister and a clean slate can bring a rejuvenated air of confidence to the UK housing market but while Boris does have a fairly good track record when it comes to housing, he’s probably not the steady hand on the tiller that many would have liked.

“He has put his stake in the ground with a number of announcements around the UK housing market but with his plate already rather full, it’s unlikely that any of these will ever come to fruition.”

Camilla Bell (left), Managing Partner, at Black Brick: “A move to reverse the Stamp Duty increases put in place by George Osborne, when the top rate increased from 7% to 12%, would be very good news, particularly for the London market which has been suffering from an onslaught of tax hikes on property since the end of 2014.

“There is now clear evidence that the Stamp Duty increases have started to dent the tax take.

“We would welcome a review of current property taxation, particularly the 3% surcharge and proposed 1% additional charge on foreign buyers, which has had the effect of pouring glue into the market and resulting in a dramatic fall in the number of transactions happening on an annual basis.”

Nick Leeming, Chairman of Jackson-Stops, (left) says: “Today’s announcement from the Conservative Party should inject some stability and confidence back into the property market over the coming months.

“Although clarity is urgently needed on Brexit, our new Prime Minister Boris Johnson must also see the property market as one of his top priorities.

Prohibitive stamp duty charges have long been a challenge for those on all rungs of the property ladder, and so both buyers and sellers will now be eagerly awaiting confirmation from him and his party on how he decides to address this.

“Should Boris decide only to switch stamp duty liabilities from the house buyer to the seller this will do little to improve the overall market.

“Buyers will look at the combined cost of a property purchase before deciding how much they should bid for it.”

July 23, 2019

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