While Boris Johnson effectively won the Tory leadership race by a landslide, he is certainly not everybody’s cup of tea. Already the knives are out, within and out-with his own party and it is obvious he is what you could affectionately describe as a “Marmite” Prime Minister. You either love him or you loathe him. However, what will Boris Johnson do for the housing market?
If we look back to his time as Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was extremely keen to remove minimum affordable property numbers on new developments. Rolling back to the traditional conservative policy, he is more a free market man than one which is tied up by red tape and regulations. That is not to say he is not open to affordable property but to stipulate them in regulations does not appear to be his style.
Boris Johnson obviously has a very close connection with the London property market after his time as Mayor of London. As a consequence, it seems almost inevitable there will be a rolling back of recent stamp duty increases which pre-empted a lurch to the left from the previous administration. It is safe to say that the London property market would benefit more than most from a reduction in the higher rates of stamp duty.
This is something which has incurred the wrath of rival political parties but anything which encourages activity must surely be welcome?
We can also ready ourselves for a battle royale between Boris Johnson and Sadik Khan, the current Mayor of London. Sadik Khan has been demanding new powers to set rent controls across London perhaps preparing the way prior to Boris Johnson’s elevation to leader of the Tory party. During his time as Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was not in favour of rent controls, another restriction to the free-market, so we can certainly expect fireworks between the two.
Reducing political influence over housing policy
Interestingly, there is talk that Boris Johnson will look to reduce the influence of politicians of the U.K.’s housing policy going forward. To remove this from the control of Parliament would certainly be an innovation few have even considered in years gone by. However, when you bear in mind the fact that housing has become something of a political football in recent times, maybe this is the kind of innovation we need?
While the proof is in the pudding, and Boris Johnson tends to talk a lot and not always deliver, there is cautious optimism within the UK housing sector. The recent lurch to the left, increase in taxes and added protection for tenants, has caused many to rethink their long-term property investment strategies. While a potential lurch to the right may be a little too far for some people, it has the potential to at least rebalance recent regulatory changes.
On the whole, the housing sector does seem to be more positive than negative with regards to Boris Johnson. Unfortunately, there is a proviso. The proviso is that he delivers his Brexit policy which is more in favour of a deal with the EU as opposed to the no deal which is in the headlines. Using similar negotiating tactics are Donald Trump – could Boris Johnson deliver that elusive EU free trade deal by using the threat of a no deal Brexit?