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  • Writer's pictureTyson T

Anticipation in the UK Property Market Ahead of the July 2024 Elections





12 June 2024


As the UK prepares for the general elections on 4 July 2024, the property market is buzzing with anticipation. Investors, homeowners, and real estate professionals are all eagerly waiting to see how political outcomes could influence the housing sector's future. Let’s dive into the current market conditions, economic factors, and what could happen post-election under Labour or Conservative leadership.


Current Market Conditions


The UK housing market has experienced modest growth over the past year, with average house prices increasing by 3% year-on-year. Demand remains high, particularly in urban areas, driven by low interest rates and a growing desire for more space post-pandemic. However, supply continues to lag behind demand, exacerbating affordability issues, particularly for first-time buyers.


"Amanda Bryden, Head of Mortgages, Halifax, said:

“UK house prices were largely static in May, edging down slightly by -0.1% or around £170 in cash terms. On an annual basis house prices rose for a sixth consecutive month, up by +1.5% vs +1.1% in April. The average property price now stands at £288,688...

“A period of relative stability in both house prices and interest rates should give a degree of confidence to both buyers and sellers. While homebuyers and those re-mortgaging will continue to respond to changes in borrowing costs, set against a backdrop of a limited supply of available properties, the market is unlikely to see huge fluctuations in the near term.”

Source: 





Economic Context:

Interest Rates: The Bank of England's base rate is currently at 5.25%, up from previous lows to combat inflation.





CPI Inflation: Currently stands at 3.4, down from a high of 10% but still well above the 2% target.

Source: 




Wages: Wage growth is steady at around 4%, which hasn’t quite kept up with inflation, squeezing real incomes.


Fiscal Policy: The current fiscal strategy has focused on stabilising public finances while supporting economic recovery post-COVID. Government spending on infrastructure, including housing, has been a priority, though budget constraints have limited new projects.


Monetary Policy: The Bank of England has adopted a cautious stance, aiming to control inflation while fostering economic growth. Interest rates are expected to remain stable in the short term, with adjustments likely post-election based on economic performance.


EU Government Elections: The upcoming EU elections add another layer of uncertainty, as changes in EU leadership could influence trade and economic policies that impact the UK, especially in the post-Brexit landscape.


Potential Post-Election Scenarios


Labour Government:

Labour has ambitious plans to tackle the housing crisis by building 300,000 new homes annually, focusing on affordable housing. They also plan to introduce rent controls to stabilise the rental market, which could make renting more affordable but may deter investment in the rental sector.


Conservative Government:

The Conservatives are likely to continue promoting home ownership schemes such as Help to Buy, assisting first-time buyers. They also plan to deregulate planning laws to speed up housing developments, aiming to increase supply quickly. While this could boost housing stock, it may face opposition from local communities concerned about overdevelopment.


Major Planning Policies and Their Impact


Labour's Rent Controls: These are designed to make renting more affordable and provide tenants with greater security. By capping rent increases, Labour hopes to prevent sudden and steep rent hikes. However, landlords argue that such controls could reduce profitability and discourage investment in rental properties, potentially leading to a decrease in the quality and availability of rental housing.

Conservative Planning Deregulation: This policy aims to streamline the process for obtaining planning permission, reducing the time and cost associated with developing new housing. While this could increase housing supply, critics fear it might lead to lower quality housing and inadequate infrastructure to support new developments.


Conclusion


The upcoming UK elections are poised to significantly impact the property market. Whether Labour or the Conservatives win, their policies will shape the housing landscape, influencing supply, affordability, and investment opportunities. As we await the results, the property market remains cautiously optimistic, with hopes that post-election policies will support balanced and sustainable growth.


References:


3. [Financial Times](https://www.ft.com)

4. [Office of National Statistics](https://www.ons.co.uk)

Written by Tyson Teubner

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