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House-hunters hit by general election nerves

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  • 30/05/2017
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House-hunters are putting their buying plans on hold ahead of the General Election.

The number of potential homebuyers registered per estate agent branch fell from 397 in March and 425 in January and February to 381 in April, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The industry body said the decline was down to uncertainty triggered by the snap General Election and the data echoes results across the mortgage industry of a general slowdown since the election was announced.

Last April, amid Brexit uncertainty, the number of house-hunters searching for properties was 17% lower at 325 per branch.

Property supply has also fallen in the run-up to 8 June. There were 36 properties available to buy per branch in April, down from 39 per branch in March.

The NAEA said this was the lowest level seen since April 2016 when agents had just 35 properties to market as sellers held off until after the EU referendum.

Mark Hayward of NAEA 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.

“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’s 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.”

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