Unlike the Stock Market, which has the liquidity and infrastructure to react quickly to political and economic events, you don’t often hear house prices mentioned as a barometer of current events.
Just as well really if you look at how that market has been tinkered with via various external levers over the last few years. Since 1997 under Blair, the first to move off the historical norm of 1% SDLT, there have been no less than 13 rises in this regressive tax, culminating in the existing, and swingeing, rates that have slowly choked off a market that needs air at the top.
Politicians simply don’t grasp some of the basic tenets of commerce and economics – how could they if you look at the further liturgy of dabbling. In the recent past we’ve had ATEDs [taxes on Non Natural Person ownership that are now five years old – and require updated valuations] two General Elections, a Scottish Referendum, the EU Referendum, several genuine and remorseless bad news Budgets and Autumn Statements, ongoing Brexit whinging, MORE Scottish EU talk, SDLT surcharges and NOW, to top it all, another bl**dy General Election – the third in seven years.
The super tanker that is the London property market simply has no idea where it’s pointing, and to get it in the right direction takes stability and at the very least a consistent medium term view– and that’s in short supply at the moment.
Whilst talking about stability it’s not a lot better in the mortgage finance sector – just when everyone is telling you rates have bottomed out and can only go one way there’s news of another round of “woo the punter” likely to last till Christmas – 1.29% for five years – WTF?