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General Election - 4 July 2024

General Election - 4 July 2024

On Wednesday the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced that a General Election will be held on Thursday 4th July. The announcement has prompted speculation from various quarters - including house sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants - as to what impact the upcoming election might have on the property market.

According to Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, the professional body for the property sector, housing “must be a key theme that all political parties are placing front and centre of their general election campaigns” since it is the “cornerstone for every single community across the UK” and “the foundation to a strong economy.”

Emerson added: “Many successive governments have failed to keep pace with demand, and we would encourage potential policy makers from all sides to place a rejuvenated emphasis on tackling current issues and meeting future demand.

“There must be a sustainable mix of housing solutions for both buyers and renters, as well as a commitment to ensuring the UK leads regarding innovation, quality and environmental sustainability.

“In addition, any new government must ensure there is comprehensive support in place for first-time buyers to prevent the prospect of home ownership being out of reach, but equally ensure the housing market remains balanced for all. It is also important there is a full scale commitment to ensure wider infrastructure is also planned for, as we witness an ever growing population.”

Meanwhile, Oli Sherlock, MD of Insurane at lettings software provider Goodlord, believes the Renters Reform Bill is now in “major doubt” with the election scheduled for 4th July.

“This will be deeply frustrating for the whole industry which is desperate for clarity.” He said. “Should the bill not be pushed through as part of the wash-up we will be back to square one. The best we can hope for is that the next government, whoever it’s led by, puts housing and the private rented sector at the heart of their agenda.”

Stuart Forsdike, a Legal Conveyancer thinks there’s a prospect of a cut in stamp duty and conveyancing reform. He said: “The upcoming General Election will undoubtedly bring the housing market, and hopefully the conveyancing process, to the forefront of the political agenda. Many are hopeful that this will lead to a cut in stamp duty, alleviating some of the financial burden of moving and helping to stimulate market activity.

“However, the issues facing the housing market go beyond just stamp duty. The entire moving process is currently so fragmented and stressful that it acts as a significant deterrent to potential movers. The complexity and inefficiency of the conveyancing process alone contributes to this stress and requires reform.

“A complete overhaul to make the moving process more fluid and straightforward should be a priority on the agenda of all political parties. High costs and cumbersome procedures are major barriers to mobility in the housing market. Addressing these issues by simplifying and making the process more transparent could lead to increased activity and satisfaction among homeowners and buyers alike, ultimately benefiting the wider economy.”

Beadnall Copley’s summary: The Prime Minister’s announcement of a summer general election is a welcome one for estate agents, home sellers and buyers alike. Together with inflation being closer to the Bank of England’s target and an interest rate drop likely to happen sooner than experts previously predicted, this is the news we have been waiting for following the challenging market we have experienced in recent months. Whatever the result of the general election - whoever ends up at No. 10 – this will definitely bring more positivity and certainty for house sellers, buyers and us as estate agents. The property market can certainly look forward to an active second half of the year!