16 December 2019

Winston Churchill once wrote, ‘No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time’.

I think it is fair to say that 2019 shone a light on the flaws in our parliamentary democracy and none of us were particularly impressed by what we saw beneath that light.  We saw that a government without a working parliamentary majority cannot adequately govern, we saw unseemly and uncivil political discourse and we saw ongoing uncertainty which was bad for our economy generally and, specifically, bad for the housing market across the country.  

Here in East Anglia, we saw a reduction in the volume of activity in the housing market during 2019; that is to say, fewer houses became available for sale and fewer transactions took place, demonstrating that both supply and demand were diminished, and suggesting that a certain type of discretionary seller and buyer decided not to involve themselves in the market.

But following the General Election, things have changed and it is to be hoped we can now move on; the Election has provided us with a new Parliament and a government with a large working majority, large enough that the Prime Minister should not need to kowtow to fringe elements like the ERG or cosy up to the DUP.  As a result, the financial markets have responded positively and the pound is up at the prospect of a sustained period of political stability.

It is not unreasonable therefore to expect that the housing market will respond in a similarly positive fashion.  There is no longer any good reason for those discretionary buyers who sat out 2019 to stay on the sidelines and we continue to enjoy low interest rates, which have traditionally fuelled the property market.

So perhaps for everyone, politicians, the general public, sellers and buyers, 2020 will prove to be the time to move on?