General Election 2024: the industry response

Prime minister Rishi Sunak announced earlier this week that the country would take to the polls for a General Election on July 4th: we've gathered industry reaction here, ranging from urging prospective new governments to consider planning in their manifestos to considering the issue of affordability.

Related topics:  General Election
Amy Loddington | Online Editor, Financial Reporter
24th May 2024

Housing at the heart of manifestos

Antony Duthie, Regional Director of Lanpro, echoed a popular view – that housing must be at the heart of prospective governments’ manifestos. He said:

“As manifestos are published in the coming days, it is vital that all parties recognise the importance of the planning system as a key economic facilitator and economic driver which can significantly increase the country’s productivity in addition to resolving the housing crisis.

“The next Government needs to take bold steps to resolve the many challenges that currently stand in the way of delivering much needed housing and infrastructure. People will be looking beyond the rhetoric of political campaigning and instead for evidence that manifestos can bring about real change.”

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, said housing was the ‘cornerstone’ that political parties should be placing ‘front and centre of their general election campaigns’. He continued:

“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.”

Andrew Carpenter, the Structural Timber Association’s CEO, declared the election “a pivotal opportunity to place sustainable housing at the top of the political agenda”. He urged all parties “to seize this chance to revolutionise the way we build our homes”.

Certainty is welcomed

Many said the move would bring much-needed confidence to the market – Robin Rathore, CEO of Bamboo Auctions said the news would “be welcome for buyers, sellers and estate agents who have experienced a fragile market in recent months and have been waiting for green shoots, which will arrive with the certainty of an election result”.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, agreed, welcoming the certainty of an election date and saing HBF would be “ready to work with ministers of whichever party immediately after the election to help reverse declining housebuilding numbers”.

Robin Thomas, consultant at Recoco Property Search, added:

“Now that we have a definite date for the General Election, we anticipate a repeat of what happened after the General Election in 2019 with a Government given a clear majority and thereby giving the property market the confidence it currently lacks. If this happens, we will see a much more active property market in the late summer and autumn.”

High time

Adam Lawrence, CEO of London Square, also welcomed the clarity the news gave – saying: “We have been in limbo for so long. It will be good for the housing sector and business generally. We need a new government now with a clear mandate to drive the UK forward."

Lawrence Turner, director at Bayer, agreed:

“The housing crisis is a pressing issue that has plagued the UK for far too long. With a new Government potentially taking office on 4 July, there is hope that real change can finally be brought about to tackle this crisis head-on. However, with only 100 days to make a significant impact before the end of October, it is essential that the new Government focuses on key priorities that will have a lasting and effective impact on addressing the housing crisis.

The impact of the election – or lack of it

Others said the election itself would have little effect on the market in the short term.

Nigel Bishop, of buying agency Recoco Property Search, said the election was ‘unlikely’ to have a slowing effect on the market, with buyers choosing to take advantage in the number of properties being put up for sale this spring. He added:

“Sellers remain eager to sell now in the hope of securing the right buyer for their home – especially as, despite a higher-than-expected inflation reading, some lenders have begun cutting mortgage rates which fuels buyer demand even further.”

Similarly, Lucian Cook, Savills’ head of residential research, said: “Affordability is by far the biggest factor in the mainstream housing market. Accordingly, we expect the pace and scale of interest rate cuts to have a more significant impact on the market than the timing or outcome of the general election, not least because of the short odds on a change in government.”




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