'Wait and see' approach over General Election leads to housing market pause


The housing market took a pause in April as buyers and sellers adopted a "wait and see" attitude over the General Election, according to estate agents.

The number of both buyers and sellers in the market fell, as people put their plans on hold until the result of the vote on June 8 is clear, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) said.

In April, 381 house hunters were registered per estate agency branch on average across the UK, down from 397 in March.

There were 36 properties available per branch typically, down from 39 in March. This was the lowest level seen since April 2016 when agents had just 35 properties on the market typically, as sellers held off until after the EU referendum.

The number of sales agreed per branch fell to eight in April on average, from 10 in March.

With the supply of available homes remaining tight, the proportion of properties being sold for above the asking price increased, to one in 14 (7%) in April, from one in 20 (5%) in March.

Mark Hayward, chief executive, 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."