COMMENT: Property market could stall until after election

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The country is unmoved, literally, by another election.

There seems to be a new summer trend in the UK – get the country out to vote!

In 2014 it was the Scottish independence referendum grabbing attention while in 2015 the whole country turned out to vote for Westminster seats. In 2016 we had that EU referendum and now 2017 means another General Election focussed on Westminster once more.

It’s tempting to feel very sorry for the Scots as they, like the Welsh, have also voted for their devolved assemblies. But in Northern Ireland, they’ve just had another devolved assembly election and might well face another so you have to have sympathy for Ulster residents. “No more elections” is the policy that gets my vote!

Summer, of course, is the time we are all supposed to get cheery and move home. For the last two years south of the border and three years north of it there has been too much else to think about for many people. The only good thing about the EU referendum outcome for everyone last year, whether you wanted in or out, was that the final result saw a logjam of property sales suddenly come free and the market quite literally get moving.

It’s useless making confident predictions about the outcome this time and its effect, although Theresa May must be sure she’s heading for a landslide or she wouldn’t have called the election. I’m sure she doesn’t see it as a gamble.

North of the border, which fascinates me as a Hebridean born and bred, the situation is complicated by it becoming a vote on whether to back the SNP and independence or scotch such moves by supporting parties that believe in the Union as it is.

Is this a poll about Brexit anywhere else? Theresa May would like to think so while others will shift the focus onto such things as the NHS and education. The biggest problem facing politicians, however, is keeping the electorate awake long enough to hear any message at all! Most of us have had enough.

What I would urge is that even if you want to wait for the outcome of the election before you decide whether or not to move you should at least be prepared. Get everything ready, make sure all your documentation is in order, have your property valued and an agent selected, know what you can afford to buy should the outcome be the one you want, and then get on with the job.

There will be a rush of activity on June 9th and you need to be ahead of the game.

Colin Shairp is director of Fine and Country Southern Hampshire. He is also a Fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents, the trade body that encourages and oversees professional training and standards.