Will the property market now face a six-week close-down as movers wait to find out what happens after the 2017 General Election called today by the Prime Minister, Theresa May?
On previous form, it might. The market had to wait for the 2015 General Election called by the doomed David Cameron and the ensuing EU Referendum last year, both of which sucked precious weeks and months from those years’ crucial Spring – and normally busy – property buying peaks.
This time around been a mixed reaction from the property and lending industries. The Yorkshire Building Society was first out of the blocks following the announcement this morning by Mrs May.
Its economist Andrew McPhillips (left) said: ““The housing market is going through a sluggish period at present and a general election adds to the chances of it lasting longer.
“Home buyers who are well on the way to making a purchase have traditionally not been put off by such surprise macro-events but those only thinking about it may decide to pause.”
North London agent Jeremy Leaf (right) says: “The period of 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 the polls fluctuate, and that includes the decision to buy and sell property.”
The British Property Federation believes the snap election will create “short-term uncertainty at a time when it’s critical to maintain business and investor confidence”, says its Chief Executive Melanie Leech (left).
She also appeared to predict the outcome: “It should, however, provide the next government with a clear mandate to negotiate our future relationship with the EU and deliver the UK’s long-term economic health”.
Jones Lang Lasalle takes the view that the election will be positive for the sector. “It will mean that a general election is no longer likely to coincide with the end of the two-year negotiating period following the triggering of Article 50,” says its Head of UK Research, Jon Neale.
“The Prime Minister will now be under less pressure to ‘deliver Brexit’ by 2020 – making a transitional phase more likely.”
Ed Heaton (right), founder of property search agency Heaton & Partners, also believes it will do good.
“I see the decision to hold a General Election in June as a positive for the property market, particularly as the snap nature of the announcement, means that there has been no long build up with buyers and sellers wanting to hold off,” he says.
“Whilst the outcome is widely expected to be a Tory landslide, the element of uncertainty is limited because of this. The prospect of five more years of Conservative rules will be seen by many as a real positive.”