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What the general election means for the property industry

By: Kelly Bellerson

Elections always shake things up, especially for the property market.

The new government’s policies can really stir the pot—think market dynamics, regulation, property values, investment opportunities, and overall confidence. So, what’s the scoop so far, and what might be coming our way in the next few months? Let’s dive in!

Regulatory Changes and Policy Shifts

When a general election rolls around, the property industry braces for some big changes, and each political party has its own game plan for housing and property issues.

If a party focused on affordable housing takes the reins, expect a push for new home construction, subsidies for first-time buyers, more affordable housing requirements, and maybe even rent controls to protect tenants.

The Times says these moves could give the housing market a boost and make owning a home easier, though developers and landlords might see their profits take a hit.

On the flip side, a party that’s all about deregulation and market freedom might slash taxes and encourage private investment in property. This could spark a development boom and draw in foreign investors, as the BBC points out.

But, without the right social policies, this could make housing even less affordable and widen the inequality gap.

Right now, there’s a bunch of regulations in the works—like the Renters Reform Bill, Biodiversity Net Gain, Building Safety Act, Levelling Up and Regeneration Act of 2023, and the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill.

Economic Stability and Confidence in the Market

General elections can throw a bit of a curveball into the property market, shaking up market confidence. Investors and developers might play it safe leading up to the big day, causing a temporary slowdown.

But hey, sometimes businesses try to speculate and grab any advantages they can in the market. This uncertainty about future policies and the economy can make property prices and transaction volumes a bit wobbly, but it can also open up some opportunities for buyers, sellers, and investors.

After the election, things can go either way. If there’s a clear winner and the new government is seen as business-friendly, we might see a boom in property investments and market activity.

But if the election results in a hung parliament or a shaky government, that uncertainty could drag on, dampening market vibes and slowing down major property deals.

The Times points out that history shows us a clear win often leads to a post-election bounce in market activity, especially if the new government is trusted to keep the economy stable.

Finance and Interest Rates

The results of a general election can also shake up monetary policy, which in turn affects interest rates and the property market.

If the new government goes big on spending, we might see higher interest rates as the Bank of England tries to keep inflation in check. Higher rates mean more expensive mortgages and property investments, which could cool down demand for both homes and commercial spaces.

On the flip side, if the government is all about cutting back and reducing national debt, we might get a low-interest-rate environment to kickstart economic activity.

Cheaper borrowing can spur more property purchases and investments. But watch out—if rates stay low for too long, it could inflate a property price bubble, which is risky for the economy in the long run.

The BBC notes how shifts in interest rates after elections have historically impacted housing affordability and investment trends.

Investment Incentives and Tax

Tax policies, both domestic and international, play a huge role in the property market and can change a lot depending on election outcomes.

Governments often tweak taxes to influence market behaviour. Think about tax breaks for first-time homebuyers, cuts in capital gains tax, or incentives for energy-efficient buildings—these can really boost different parts of the market.

A new government might shake things up by adding or removing taxes that hit property owners directly, like residential property taxes, stamp duties, and inheritance taxes.

They could also levy taxes on businesses and landlords. Such changes can make property investments more or less attractive.

For example, higher stamp duties might put people off buying properties, while lower property taxes could make owning real estate more appealing.

The Times notes that tax policy changes are some of the most closely watched post-election moves because they have immediate and noticeable impacts on the market.

Environmental and Social Considerations

Housing affordability, homelessness, and sustainable development often take centre stage. The winning party’s approach to these topics will shape what the property industry focuses on and how it operates.

If a new government is serious about cutting carbon emissions, expect stricter building codes with higher environmental standards. Sure, this might bump up construction costs, but it will also drive innovation in green building practices.

On the housing front, policies to improve affordability—like rent controls or boosting social housing—will directly affect the rental market and property values.

The BBC notes that recent elections have put more spotlight on these issues, showing how political pressures are reshaping the property landscape.

This general election is a big deal for the property industry, setting the stage for the policies and market trends of the coming years.

Developers, investors, homeowners, and renters all need to stay sharp and ready to adapt to the new government’s policies.

While elections can bring uncertainty, they also open up new opportunities for those who can navigate the changing political scene.

Understanding how election outcomes could impact property issues is key to making smart decisions and staying ahead in a shifting market. As the political dust settles, the property sector needs to stay flexible and responsive to the new realities shaped by the election.

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