The results of the General Election are all but in, after a tumultuous night, particularly for the Conservatives.
In the end, the UK is once again left with a hung parliament, with Theresa May seemingly left with a considerable amount of egg on her face!
But just how will the result impact on the property industry moving forwards? Will we see another change at the top? Could jubilant Jezza head a minority Government?
Leading figures from the property industry have offered their reaction.
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, observed: ‘A hung parliament will result in an extended period of uncertainty with decision-making kicked into the long grass. Theresa May is correct – we need a period of stability as that will quash uncertainty which is bad for the housing market – but it is not clear at the moment whether she can deliver it. Stability is crucial in enabling people to make big decisions such as buying and selling property.’
‘The hopelessness we are seeing on the ground about not being able to get on the housing ladder has come through. If there is one message that has come out of this election, it is that the young have voted overwhelmingly for change.’
‘Politicians will have to consider the needs of the young more than they have in the past which could mean more help for first-time buyers, perhaps extending Help to Buy so that it covers older properties as well as new build, dealing with affordability issues and more help on stamp duty.’
‘One thing all the parties agree on is that we need more housing so it has to be a priority for whichever formal or informal coalition is created.’
Lack of Normality
Russell Quirk, founder and CEO of eMoov.co.uk, was also not impressed by the results, noting: ‘As we awake today to the opposite of a strong and stable administration but to a rather unexpected hung parliament, I fear that the property market’s post-election return to normality that I’d hoped for may be rather further away still.
Political instability breeds procrastination on the part of homebuyers and sellers and for over a year now we have seen the effects of that on volumes, if not so much prices, as a consequence of the EU vote and then the snap general election.
A hung parliament means that Theresa May does not have the mandate that she sought for herself and for a ‘hard Brexit’. Whilst the Conservatives may be able to form a minority government propped up by the DUP in Northern Ireland, we now face the serious prospect of the selection of a new Prime Minister and then, probably, a further general election in the autumn.
General Election- The Property Industry Reacts
So whilst the UK voter may understandably develop electoral fatigue, transactions in the property market may also stay somewhat anaesthetised until it’s re-awoken by something more politically and economically decisive than we have seen over the past 24 hours.
In addition to the prospect of Theresa May being forced out for grabbing humiliation from the jaws of victory, we will also see yet another Housing Minister in post by next week given that Gavin Barwell has just lost his Croydon Central seat. That’ll be our 6th Housing Minister in almost as many years.
Regardless, I suspect that the housing brief will take a back seat now, despite politicians’ promises in recent weeks, given the combined weight of negotiating Brexit, stabilising our economy, button-holing political support across the aisle on every vote and, inevitably, campaigning again for the next poll.’
Richard Pike, sales and marketing director at Phoebus Software, also said: ‘The election result shows again that nothing is certain in politics. What we needed was certainty through a majority, what we are left with is further uncertainty through a hung parliament. The result could affect not only domestic policies but the whole Brexit process.’
‘The Conservatives need to form a Government in whatever way it can if it is to be ready for Brexit negotiations to start in ten days’ time and in order to stabilise the economy. Unfortunately until a new Government has bedded in, many areas that we as an industry wanted to see action on such as housing policy, may well take a back seat.’
John East, Director of KFH Land and New Homes said that the property market, ‘thrives on confidence,’ and that it is, ‘important the uncertainty of a hung parliament is quickly resolved and a clear strategy is set out to tackle housing shortfalls, particularly in London.’
Carol Pawsey, Lettings Director at KFH, believes: ‘The spotlight is firmly on the rental sector as a key component in shoring up housing supply. The new government, however it is compiled, needs to ensure we have a balanced private rental sector that attracts investors and landlords to the market while looking after the long-term interests of the increasing number of tenants looking for quality long-term rental homes.’