Cambridge property market set to be unaffected by General Election
Anton Frost, head of lettings at Carter Jonas Cambridge, reflects on the upcoming vote.
When Theresa May announced last week that the UK would hold a snap General Election in just a few weeks’ time, the property market inevitably reflected on the possible ramifications.
After three consecutive years of a changing political landscape, property has proved to be inherently resilient – thanks in part to almost a decade of strong growth.
Furthermore, consumer sentiment has shown that we are in a robust position to withstand ongoing impact from parliamentary uncertainty.
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement, the property industry emerged as fairly united in its belief that there simply isn’t enough time ahead of polling day on June 8 for any ensuing political turmoil to stall the market.
By contrast, historically, we have had six months of campaigning ahead of a General Election. Often this protracted process has bred uncertainty among buyers and vendors, who have tended to adopt a wait-and-see approach.
In this instance, a Tory victory has been touted as almost inevitable. This may further eliminate a layer of uncertainty over the vote from public consciousness.
Furthermore, the prospect of five more years of a Conservative government is likely to result in renewed buoyancy in the property market, with their commercial inclination resonating among investors looking for their next opportunity.
While some might feel numb to another round of political rhetoric, it is worth reflecting locally on the strength of Cambridge’s position. The economy is thriving, we are benefitting from great inward investment and employment opportunities are burgeoning – each of which contributes to sustainable growth and ongoing success for the city.
Looking at property – and specifically lettings – Cambridge’s market upward performance shows no sign of abating. With a record number of contracts starting in March, the volume of activity is exponential and certainly shores up the market to weather the potential political storm.
Furthermore, a constant supply of high-calibre, new stock, combined with ongoing tenant demand, provides security for Cambridge landlords for both the immediate and longer term.
While Cambridge’s house price growth has proved too much for some first-time buyers, as well as those seeking to ascend the property ladder, it has heightened the appetite among tenants, who now regard renting as a lifestyle choice which, in many instances, is preferable to homeownership.
Additionally, with the increased concentration of business and industry in and around the city, Cambridge is attracting more temporary residents who want to capitalise on the employment opportunities but are not planning on laying down roots and buying property.
This safeguards a further source of demand for rental properties for the foreseeable future.
A snap poll that followed the election announcement showed that almost 60 per cent of those currently engaged in a property transaction have no reason to change their plans and will continue on the same course, which is a further sign that the market will not be derailed by the election.
While Mrs May’s decision to call the election has been regarded as bold by some, it should settle any underlying opposition within the Government around Britain’s decision to leave the EU. By appeasing any doubts around the legitimacy of the Brexit vote, the property market should benefit from a sense of greater stability and empowerment going forward.
The chronic undersupply of housing means that regardless of the outcome, building more homes and supporting the property sector will continue to be a priority, which is great news for lettings and the supply of rental properties.
Securing the broader economy will ensure that international property investors continue to operate in the UK long-term, which offers an additional layer of support to the market.
Lest we forget that house price rises in the city have not gone unnoticed by overseas investors, who were quick to act on the opportunities available in Cambridge and will no doubt continue to do so.
For now, and as far as the Cambridge lettings market is concerned, it is business as usual and we look forward to driving forward an ongoing market buoyancy as we head into May.