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Election 2024 – What Does It Mean for The Housing Market?

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So, we’re off on a long election campaign. July 4 will be a key day for the future, so what does the contest mean for the housing market?

Limited impact on buyers, sellers and renters

Although some past elections have led to the housing market almost coming to a halt, we think this time there will be less disruption for several reasons.

Firstly there are fewer-than-usual differences between parties over critical elements such as taxation and public spending. Conservatives and Labour have varying priorities but similar pledges on how these priorities will be funded.

Secondly the campaign and immediate post-election period coincides with early summer holidays and other factors that would in any case detract from buying and selling – big sporting events like the Euros and Wimbledon, and even 10 of the Taylor Swift concerts as well as The Glastonbury festival!

Thirdly it’s widely expected that the Bank of England will wait until August before starting to cut interest rates: this isn’t 100 per cent certain but it’s the view of most analysts. So buyers waiting for lower priced mortgages would not be taking the plunge during June and July anyway.

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In my opinion these factors lead us to a clear conclusion for the impact on the housing market – most buyers and sellers well into their transactions will continue while those thinking ‘should I sell my house now?’ may press ‘pause’ until late summer or early autumn.

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Renters seeking homes to rent normally have more urgent deadlines with less flexibility, so the rental market – which continues to have too few properties to meet demand – is likely to go on as normal.

Housing will be a big election issue

One big difference between this General Election and past ones is that almost all politicians believe housing to be a major issue.

I for one welcome that. Whatever your political complexion there’s no denying that we have too few homes where people want them, that it’s too complicated to buy a home, and that affordability means people find it ever-harder to buy or rent where they want to. This has to change.

The chief executive of Propertymark, Nathan Emerson, is right when he gives this advice to whoever wins on July 4: “There must be a sustainable mix of housing solutions for both buyers and renters … any new government must ensure there is comprehensive support in place for first time buyers … and ensure a wider infrastructure is also planned for, as we witness an ever-growing population.”

The party policies and the housing market

Each party will publish a manifesto in June so some of their existing policies may be whittled down or changed completely, but as things stand this is the party breakdown.

Labour:

  • Deliver 1.5m new homes within five years;
  • Build on brownfield urban sites and some less attractive parts of the Green Belt;
  • Give local people ‘first dibs’ on new housing schemes;
  • Create  a series of new towns, with 40% to 50% of homes deemed ‘affordable’;
  • Further restrict social housing tenants’ Right To Buy;
  • Strengthen renters’ rights, stop no-fault evictions and force landlords to be registered;
  • Party debating private sector rent controls – some want councils and mayors to have powers to impose them;
  • Make it easier for leaseholders to buy the freehold, and reduce ground rent;
  • Target of every home to have an Energy Performance Certificate of C or above “within a decade.”

Conservatives:

  • An ‘advisory’ target of 500,000 new homes per year;
  • Introduction of a ‘Help To Buy’ replacement, aimed at first time buyers;
  • Continue its £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme for lower cost new homes;
  • Strengthen renters’ rights, stop no-fault evictions and force landlords to be registered;
  • Opposition to private sector rent controls;
  • Oblige whole properties given over to Airbnb and short lets to seek planning approval;
  • Replace the freehold system with new ‘Commonhold’ and reduce ground rent to £250 maximum;
  • General commitment to improve energy efficiency in homes, but targets scrapped in 2023.

Liberal Democrats:

  • UK-wide target of 150,000 new affordable homes each year by the end of the next parliament;
  • 10-year emergency programme to insulate Britain’s homes and reduce domestic emissions;
  • Unspecified measures to oblige developers to build appropriate infrastructure for new housing schemes;
  • Abolishing leaseholds and cut ground rents “to a nominal fee”; 
  • Strengthen renters’ rights, stop no-fault evictions and force landlords to be registered;
  • New powers for local authorities to control and manage second homes and holiday lets.
  • Expansion of Neighbourhood Planning with more ‘democratic engagement’ in Local Plans; 
  • Building 10 new garden cities.

Reform UK:

  • Fast-track planning and tax incentives for development of brownfield sites, including unused offices and shops;
  • Review developer contributions for infrastructure to accelerate house building;
  • Prioritise British and particularly local people for social housing;
  • Scrap tax penalties imposed on landlords in recent years to incentivise more buy to let;
  • Scrap the Renters Reform Bill while beefing up council monitoring and enforcement of private rental standards;
  • Tax incentives for house builders to use new construction technology;
  • More apprentices and vocational courses to boost supply of housebuilding workers and skills.

Scottish National Party (SNP):

  • SNP has recently declared a ‘housing emergency’ across Scotland;
  • Aim to build 100,000 affordable homes by 2032;
  • Land reform to encourage ‘community buy out’ of plots;
  • Rural Housing Fund to encourage more building in remote areas;
  • First Home Fund to help first time buyers;
  • Continue ban on Right To Buy;
  • Continue with private sector rent controls;
  • Continue strict licensing system for Airbnbs and other short let properties.

Green Party:

  • Provide funding to councils to meet their needs for affordable social housing;
  • Lift some restrictive rules on council borrowing for housebuilding;
  • Extra 150,000 council homes a year through new build, refurbishment, conversions and buying existing homes; 
  • Ending Right to Buy in England;
  • Private sector rent controls;
  • Greater renter rights and ending Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions;
  • Creating a ‘community right to buy’ giving councils, housing associations and community groups first refusal to buy certain properties;
  • Oblige owners of homes to sell if property is “left empty for an unacceptably long time.” 

Are you planning to move?

If you’re planning to move then my advice as always is to get organised in advance and well prepared. Whether you decide to push forwards or delay your plans, preparation is key to get yourself ahead of the game.

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Last Updated: May 23rd, 2024

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