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Will the snap general election affect the north London property market?

PUBLISHED: 17:34 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:37 24 April 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street, London, announcing a snap general election on June 8. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street, London, announcing a snap general election on June 8. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Theresa May has announced that the country will return to the polls on June 8 for the third summer running, but what will this mean for property sales in north London?

When the news broke yesterday that the prime minister Theresa May had called a snap election political pundits raced to get their takes out, with property not far behind.

But whilst Westminster is thrown into turmoil, the ramifications for the north London property market will be more on the scale of minor inconvenience than any major ramifications.

Whilst not as obviously exasperated as the viral reaction of ‘Brenda from Bristol’, there was a certain degree of political fatigue apparent in the response from north London estate agents.

Buying agent Henry Pryor tweeted: “Thinking of putting your house on the market? For the third year running the summer selling market has been put ‘on hold’ by politics”.

Trevor Abrahamson, director of Glentree Estates said: “I must say that after the turmoil following last years Referendum and the associated prime ministerial changes, I was rather hoping that nothing momentous would happen this year.”

Whilst he predicts there will be certain amount of people choosing to forestall decisions about moving home until after the election, he was sanguine about the future.

He added: “In truth, I am not sure it will make any difference whatsoever for the long term outcome of residential property and underlying values, but there could be an opportunity for canny buyers in the next eight weeks to snap up a bargain or two, from sellers who have become battle weary from the malaise created by the former Chancellor Osborne and his daft Stamp Duty hikes.”

The consensus from local agents is that whilst the election may cause short term delays with transactions, it shouldn’t upset the market too much.

Nigel Ellis, managing director at Prickett and Ellis said: “We’re not hugely concerned about the impact this will have on north London’s housing market. At the end of the day, the run up to the election is pretty brief so any ‘wait and see’ sentiment amongst potential buyers and sellers will be short lived compared with a normal general election.”

An increased Tory majority could bring greater political stability, particularly with regard to Brexit negotiations with the EU. Increased stability would give buyers more confidence in investing in the London property market, although it would do little to address the housing crisis.

Mr Ellis added: “It’s important to remember that the fundamentals of the London housing market mean that there is low supply and high demand and from what we’ve seen, any uncertainty resulting from the EU referendum result has had little impact to date”.

A recent survey conducted by Prickett and Ellis revealed that of the 1,000 Londoners surveyed, of those who had made a decision about property in the past six months only 15 per cent cited the EU referendum result as the main issue that impacted their decision.

Online estate agency eMoov.co.uk also went to the polls over the announcement that the UK was going to the polls. They orchestrated a snap survey about the snap decision and asked 1,000 home buyers and sellers how they felt about the news.

56.7 per cent of sellers and 59.2 per cent of buyers agreed that they would go ahead with their planned sale or purchase regardless of the snap general election.

The news did put off some people, with 18.4 per cent of sellers and 17.5 per cent of buyers saying they’d now prefer to wait until after the election. However, with only seven weeks to go they wouldn’t be dithering for long.

CEO of Emoove Russell Quick said: “Since the vote to leave the EU we’ve seen the market remain remarkably resilient despite a degree of buyer uncertainty, which essentially acts as property transaction kryptonite.

“Therefore, the eradication of questions around the legitimacy of the EU vote, a second referendum and any other opposition will only serve to buoy the housing market further and should see a large degree of stability return going forward.”

Uncertainty has been the watchword on the lips of estate agents and economists alike. The general consensus that the market dislikes uncertainty means that most have reacted favourably to the news of the election, despite the fact that it will be the third time the country has gone to the polls at the start of summer in as many years.

Scott Corfe, director of the Centre for Economics and Business Research said:

“An increased Tory majority, which would almost certainly be the result of an election, will increase economic and policy stability and reduce the current sense of business uncertainty.

“Increased certainty should feed through into higher levels of business investment, supporting growth in the short term.”

The snappy nature of a snap election means disruption will be kept to a minimum, and should theoretically be followed by five years of stability under an increased Tory majority.

In short, if you’re thinking of buying or selling property in Hampstead, Highgate and the surrounding areas the snap election might slow things down a little, but won’t affect you in the longer term. Happy house hunting!

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