UK Property News

Property and politics do not mix

by Mark Benson on January 12, 2015

Property and politics do not mix

Property and politics do not mix

As we approach the 2015 general election in the UK there has been a harsh lesson for the Labour Party which had proposed a mansion tax across the UK to fund 1000 extra nurses in Scotland. This move has created a backlash from English voters and placed the Labour Party in a very difficult position. There is intense speculation that this move was prompted by the recent Scottish referendum which resulted in a significant win for the Unionists. However, this is yet another example of how politics and property do not mix with many investors concerned that politicians seem intent on bringing property into the political arena.

Is property really a political football?

On the surface there is no reason why property should be used as a political football but if you dig a little deeper you will see that it often is. We have the Conservative Party looking to prop up what has been a difficult period for the UK economy in order to ensure that property prices do not fall before the election. In reality the Conservative Party is just following the general trend of previous governments in the UK which have all attempted to play the property market to curry favour with voters.

If we then move on to the Labour Party they have mentioned time and time again the potential introduction of a mansion tax but even when last in power they failed to follow through with many of their promises. The ongoing attack on the rich across the UK seemed to have hit something of a political note with Labour Party activists although any goodwill created by this move seems to have been negated by a promise to use funds raised to finance Scotland.

Will politicians ever learn?

Whatever side of the political fence you sit the fact remains that time and time again politicians use the property market to promise the world to voters. Property is used because many people, whether you own property or you rent, are impacted by price movements which effect standards of living and the cost of living. By encouraging activity in the marketplace this can push prices higher and by introducing “Victorian” style limits on rental agreements this can limit rent rises. However, in reality how many of these promises are fulfilled in full?

So, as we approach the next general election in the UK we can all sit back and expect more promises, more mudslinging and basically politicians saying everything they think we want to hear. Those in the property market have heard this time and time again and in reality whichever government is in power after the election this will have little real impact upon property prices and demand for property across the UK.

The only real lesson that politicians could learn is to fulfil promises to increase the number of new builds in the UK with the current new build rate literally hundreds of thousands a year behind the number needed. However, it would take a brave government to introduce a radical increase in the number of new builds because this would place more properties on the market. As a consequence this would reduce demand on individual properties and lessen “price squeezes” which often force prices to unaffordable levels.

{ 0 comments }

Thumbnail image for UK property hits affordability ceiling

UK property hits affordability ceiling

January 8, 2015

As the average price of a property in the UK hit £188,858 in December 2014 there is growing concern that the market has hit what many are calling the “affordability ceiling”. This is not a new phenomenon for the UK property market which has performed admirably for many years. However, when you bear in mind [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Edinburgh property market is recovering from referendum fatigue

Edinburgh property market is recovering from referendum fatigue

January 6, 2015

There is no doubt that the prolonged, and ultimately unsuccessful, bid for Scottish independence did have an impact upon not only Scottish businesses but also the Scottish property market. The general pattern for the UK property market is a lull in the summertime and a significant pickup from September onwards. However, the two-year referendum campaign [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Ed Miliband’s mansion tax in tatters

Ed Miliband’s mansion tax in tatters

January 5, 2015

As the major political parties in the UK begin campaigning for the May election Ed Miliband is already under pressure from his own supporters. Time and time again he rolls out the potential of introducing a mansion tax to fund each and every area of public spending. We have seen the mansion tax suggested as [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for UK property prices forecast to rise by 4% in 2015

UK property prices forecast to rise by 4% in 2015

January 5, 2015

While some experts believe that UK property prices could rise by as much as 7.4% in 2015 the general consensus seems to be growth of 4% during the next 12 months. This is certainly a dramatic reduction from the 11% trend seen in June 2014 although there are a number of underlying factors which may [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for UK mortgage approvals hit 18 month low

UK mortgage approvals hit 18 month low

January 4, 2015

There is concern for the UK property market in the short to medium term after the Bank of England confirmed that mortgage approvals in November hit an 18 month low. The figure of 59,029 is down on the previous month or 59,511 and a whopping 23% down on the figures for January 2014 which came [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for UK supermarkets looking at massive property write-downs

UK supermarkets looking at massive property write-downs

January 4, 2015

While the news from Tesco of late has been terrible to say the least, there is speculation there is more bad news on the way for the UK supermarket sector. Prominent financial experts believe that Tesco is on the verge of writing-down the value its property portfolio by at least £1 billion with some suggesting [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Taking advantage of the winter lull in UK property demand

Taking advantage of the winter lull in UK property demand

December 21, 2014

The UK property market has been one of the best performers over the last decade and indeed London is in a league of its own compared to any other real estate market around the world. The UK economy is performing better than the vast majority of competitors, the UK budget deficit is slowly being reduced [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Russian real estate investors leaving London

Russian real estate investors leaving London

December 20, 2014

The London property market has been one of the star performers around the world over the last decade with current prices way above and beyond the previous high of 2007. Some optimists believed that the luxury London property market would continue to rise indefinitely with wealthy overseas investors clamouring to get their hands on some [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for George Osborne announces property stamp duty changes

George Osborne announces property stamp duty changes

December 3, 2014

Just a few days ago it seemed that George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was being backed into a corner with little room for manoeuvre. There were suggestions that a lack of additional income would effectively scupper his Autumn Statement today although just yesterday evening stories started to emerge of a change in stamp [...]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Cardiff property market on the up

Cardiff property market on the up

November 29, 2014

While there is no doubt that the London real estate market has led the way in the UK it would now appear that the remainder of the U.K.’s 20 cities are now picking up the slack. The London market is now starting to cool down amid constant criticism that prices have moved too far too [...]

Read the full article →