Election jitters from homebuyers, as demand dips

Christina Hoghton
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Christina Hoghton

New figures show that buyers have put their plans on hold until the result is clear

The number of house hunters registered per estate agent branch fell to 381 in April, said NAEA Propertymark (National Association of Estate Agents).

The figure has fallen consistently since the start of the year from 425 in January, and from 397 in March.

The estate agent trade body said that this drop in demand is likely down to uncertainty triggered by the snap General Election starting to take effect. It suggested that buyers have put their plans on hold until the result is clear.

Supply down

Supply of available housing also dropped, as sellers delayed marketing their home for the same reason, amid General Election uncertainty.

In March there were 39 properties available to buy per branch, but in April this figure dropped by 8% to just 36 per branch.

This is the lowest level seen since April 2016 when agents had just 35 properties to market, as sellers held off until after the EU referendum.

The number of sales agreed per branch fell from 10 in March to eight in April, while the proportion of sales made to FTBs stayed the same at 25%.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “Periods of political uncertainty tend to halt activity in the housing market, and this is exactly what we’re seeing this month. All of the main political parties have outlined significant housing promises in their manifestos and we’d hope to see these policies rolled out in the new Government’s first six to 12 months in Parliament.

“Buyers and sellers alike are recognising this and adopting a ‘wait and see’ strategy to decipher how or if the value of their existing or future homes will be affected.”