How Does a General Election Affect House Buying and Selling?

Many of us might have groaned a little when the General Election was announced a couple of weeks ago and sent every MP in the country into campaigning mode. It’s certainly been a tumultuous time when it comes to politics, not just here in the UK.

But does an election have any impact on buying or selling a home?

Should you wait until after this election or carry on with your plans to move or invest in a new buy-to-let property?

According to most experts, the housing market was fairly stable prior to Theresa May’s announcement that the country was about to go to the polls. After the changes in stamp duty the previous year and the impact of Brexit, most in the market were looking for a period of calm and steady, if unspectacular, growth, including in areas such as the South East of England.

First of all, if you already have your house on the market, there’s probably no value in taking it off, especially considering the short timeline leading up to the election. There’s only a few weeks to get through before we have a new Government and, while the market may well be a little muted, that doesn’t mean you won’t find a buyer during that time.

The decision to call a snap election meant there was little or no speculation beforehand and that has meant less uncertainty has been caused in the market. Some people might put their plans on hold if they were thinking of selling or buying, many others will probably take the view that this is a short period and it will soon be over.

What may be a factor is if the Conservatives win a decisive majority, as many polls currently predict. That will undoubtedly give the Government a greater mandate and make for a more stable economy as we head towards Brexit.

Elections normally do have a natural dampening effect on housing markets, however, whether it’s a short one or drawn out over a longer period. Deciding when to buy or sell is always a judgement call in these circumstances – all we can say is that with a snap election this period should be much shorter and sharper.

That means rather than having an impact over 3 or even 6 months either side of the election, you should more realistically be looking at a period of stagnation of around a month. It doesn’t make much sense to wait in these circumstances. Those selling houses will undoubtedly keep them on the market for the duration of the election and those buying will continue to look around.

If you’re hoping, therefore, that you can pick up a bargain after the election, as you may have done on previous occasions when the country went to the polls, you could be disappointed. Some buyers, of course, might decide to sit on their properties for a couple of weeks and if there is a clear mandate given to one party or another it could boost the housing market because of the Brexit factor once we settle back to normal.

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