A post election prediction for the Yorkshire property market

It is ironic that for the second time in a row, I have been asked to comment on the property market shortly before a general election.

As I write, two days before polling day, it looks likely there will be a change of government in both the UK and France, with one swinging tothe left and the other to the right with much debate as to what might happen in both countries as a result.

When very few of the new policies which will inevitably follow will be within an individual homeowner’s control or influence, it does baffle me that the housing market goes into a state of flux awaiting the result when, like five years ago, it will not come as a surprise even though red will be the dominant colour this time, not blue.

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Looking back at what I and others said in the autumn of 2019, the impact of Brexit was the focus for many and there was inertia in the marketplace despite low single figure interest rates.

Tim WaringTim Waring
Tim Waring

Had I predicted then that within the following six months we would be in pandemic lockdown, within a further six months the housing market would be booming, and then Boris Johnson would be succeeded not once but twice, I suspect my time as a Yorkshire Post columnist would have come to a rapid end.

So perhaps you can understand my questioning why so many people yet again have put their home ownership plans on hold. What is the market actually waiting for?

From an impromptu survey of fellow agents over the last fortnight, it is clear I am not alone in posing this question. You might consider it is through collective self-interest but if history tell us anything, a post-election activity bounce seems almost inevitable whatever the resident colour in Downing Street.

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Perhaps the most noticeable difference this time around will be a bounce that happens when the market traditionally quietens over the summer months.

However I believe this year, any such lull has in effect already happened by virtue of the general election announcement. Therefore, the second half of 2024 will see a lively housing market across Yorkshire.

There will be no great excess (remember the impact of the stamp duty holiday post lockdown?) but I predict an increasing number of homes will be offered for sale as normal market conditions return.

Like the stock market, many homeowners now openly admit they have already factored a change of government into their thinking and are planning accordingly.

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Interest rates look likely to stay in the mid-single digit range, perhaps slightly lower, the annual rate of inflation is modest and the new occupant of No 10 will be keen to encourage housebuilding and the construction industry in general.

It could be be a market scenario described as steady which is needed after an eventful five years.

I appreciate some prospective sellers and buyers might not be convinced by my enthusiasm. Whilst respecting their caution, I suspect those who procrastinate could miss opportunities that will come to the market before the year end, with some cracking homes for sale shortly.

As one client said: “Let’s get this election out the way, then we can get on with life”.

Tim Waring FRICS, Prime Residential, tel: 01423 590500 [email protected]