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How will the general election affect house prices?

The property market is facing political uncertainty

The announcement of a snap general election in June came as a surprise to many. If you’re considering buying or selling in the near future, this is how the election may affect you. 

Certain areas of the UK’s property market have been running hot in recent years, to the point that both the Bank of England and the previous government have brought in regulations to cool prices.

Despite these strong market conditions, major political events often kick off a period of uncertainty. Here, we take a look at what’s likely to happen to house prices in the run up to the election.

  • Before you make an offer a property, it’s a good idea to get a mortgage agreement in principle. For expert, impartial advice on your mortgage options, call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0808 252 7987.

How does a general election affect the housing market?

You may have heard that transactions tend to ease off in the build up to a general election, as buyers and sellers wait to see the outcome.

Spring also tends to be a particularly busy period for the UK housing market, with the number of sales often climbing from February through to June.

The table below shows the number of transactions that took place in the UK each year (according to Land Registry data), with election years 2010 and 2015 highlighted in red.

February  March  April  May  June
2009 33,218 43,308 47,263 54,185 62,613
2010 49,016 59,715 61,352 60,892 72,734
2011 45,807 54,489 59,194 57,436 67,035
2012 52,219 71,571 52,181 61,896 70,666
2013 54,216 66,119 62,585 80,067 80,094
2014 79,868 84,028 88,332 97,353 100,789
2015 72,056 83,114 81,006 92,437 103,794
2016 79,466 134,364* 58,863 64,315 74,096

* Results for March 2016 are heavily affected by changes to stamp duty for buy-to-let investors

The data shows that transaction levels slumped just before the 2015 election on May 7, before recovering to the expected level in June.

As you can see above, while the run up to an election often has some effect on how many houses are sold, it’s not usually particularly significant.

What will happen to property prices?

In all probability, very little – property prices have tended to remain resolute in the face of previous political changes.

Ahead of the last general election in 2015, the UK’s average property price continued to rise steadily each month at around about the same level as in 2014 and 2016.

February March April May June
2014 £178,921 £179,537 £183,532 £185,476 £187,077
2015 £190,827 £191,537 £193,225 £195,313 £196,802
2016 £205,584 £207,333 £208,705 £212,191 £215,182

Will a snap general election make any difference?

If anything, it’s likely to have less of an effect on house prices than a standard general election.

With only six weeks to go until polling day, there will be much less time than usual for any hesitancy to build.

It’s also worth remembering that political uncertainty has become the norm recently – and that last year’s referendum on leaving the EU had little effect on the residential market.

How will the election result affect the property market?

It’s too early to tell, as parties have not yet released the full details of their policies.

With the proposed ban on letting fees now unlikely to come in to force until next year, continued debate over stamp duty reform and full details of the first starter home schemes yet to emerge, it promises to be an interesting year for the property market, no matter which party wins on election day.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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