The outcome of the recent General Election did little to create the strong and stable Government that Theresa May was looking to create when she chose to go to the country and seek a clear and larger mandate from the electorate.
Whilst the Tories have remained in power, they are now a minority Government and, whilst the general thrust of their policies will continue, their weakened position will necessitate greater compromise in policy and implementation.
Alongside this, negotiations have commenced as we move towards a separation from the European Union.
So what does this mean for the property market? Well, whilst uncertainty is never good for any market, there is still a basic need for people to live somewhere and, despite the distractions the underlying mechanics of the property market continue unabated.
Overall we have more demand than supply and need more accommodation across all tenures, owner occupied, private and socially rented.
Housebuilding has increased but only marginally and much greater numbers of new builds are required.
The economy is showing clear signs of slowing growth wise, the pound is weaker against other major currencies and inflation is increasing. However, these are the proverbial double edged swords in that, whilst there are some negative connotations, there are also some positive, primarily in that we are able to more successfully export our goods and services and the stock market has remained at strong levels.
Whilst increasing inflation usually heralds an increase in interest rates, this is unlikely in the foreseeable futures as the inflationary pressures are largely due to costs not spending. Mortgage interest rates are therefore likely to remain at historic lows for a prolonged period and the availability of attractive fixed rates may entice people to move and secure their funding costs for the next few years.
Affordability is probably the overriding factor governing transactional volumes at the moment and both sellers and landlords need to be competitive in order to attract committed buyers and tenants who will make a purchase or renting decision.
The last few weeks have seen some signs of increasing levels of stock coming to the market and greater numbers of first time buyers purchasing, often with assistance from the bank of Mum and Dad.
Some excellent prices and rents are being achieved but usually only when the asking price is competitive enough to attract interest from multiple buyers and tenants. Auctions only work when there are at least two bidders and the second-hand market is similar in that competition greatly increases the chances of a successful transaction resulting.
All in all, the market is not flying but it is steady, demand remains strong with buyers and tenants being discerning in their choices.
There now looks to be nothing on the horizon to change things dramatically and therefore a period of greater stability will hopefully lead to an upturn in transactional volumes.
Chris Harper and Darren Murphy