The amount of house hunters who registered with estate agents during April dropped by 4% from the previous month, according to the monthly data analysis released by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).
There were 397 registered buyers per NAEA member branch in March, with that figure dropping to 381 by the following month of April. The report also revealed that the supply of houses for sale also dropped off during last month, indicating a general slowdown of activity which is likely linked to the upcoming General Election.
Both Buyers and Sellers Using ‘Wait and See’ Strategies
The UK public will go to the polls on June 8th to decide who shall govern them for the next four years or so, and such potentially disruptive events tend to dissuade people from making too big a financial commitment before knowing how the land will lay in the aftermath of the event.
The Chief Executive of the NAEA, Mark Hayward, explained how the different political manifestos on the table will determine house buying strategy once the election is over. He said, “Periods of political uncertainty tend to halt activity in the housing market, and this is exactly what we’re seeing this month. All 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 twelve 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.”
Buyers Advised to Adopt ‘Business as Usual’ Approach
Mr Hayward continued, “However, despite the fact that increasing housing stock is playing a part in the election campaigning, more often than not we find these pledges are unachievable and turn out to be empty promises. It is therefore important that the market doesn’t totally stall as this could trigger an unintended domino effect, which we could still feel the effect of years later before supply increases. A business as usual approach will ensure house hunters are met with a healthy supply of properties to view, and sellers get a fair price and a good buyer.”
Even so, with the election just a few days away, the activity slowdown should not last too much longer. In fact, there is likely to be something of a boom afterwards regardless of which party is eventually elected.