Home Property London property industry is not fearful of a Labour government

London property industry is not fearful of a Labour government

1st Mar 24 2:49 pm

Instead there is great optimism for 2024 and beyond with widespread belief that interest rates have already peaked and, regardless of upcoming election results, property transactions and prices will continue on their current upward trajectory.

So was revealed during a unique gathering of London and Prime London industry leaders brought together to debate the issues by Century Capital’s CEO Paul Munford on Thursday 28th February.

The room included estate agents, mortgage brokers and property lenders.

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It was standing room only for the discussion, chaired by ProperPR’s Russell Quirk at The Arts Club in Mayfair, and debate was ignited around four key issues surrounding the property market in the coming year:

  1. The likely consequences of a Labour government
  2. The outlook for interest rates
  3. Current market activity
  4. 2024 house prices

Appearing on the panel to discuss these issues were William Lloyd-Hayward, COO of Sirius Finance; Rupert Collingwood from The London Broker; and Luke Navin, Head of Lending at Century Capital.

A Labour government 

The first question put to the esteemed panel was one of politics: how do we think a Labour government, fronted by Keir Starmer, will impact the housing market in London and the UK?

Luke Navin of Century Capital summed up the issue when he said, “People overstate the impact that the government has on the property market. Whichever party wins the election, we are not going to see anything revolutionary because the two are singing from near-identical hymn sheets.

William Lloyd-Hayward of Sirius Finance said, “Starmer’s pro stance on green belt development is an important one. We desperately need to kick back against the nimbyism that has been allowed to strangle development for so long.

“If just 1% of existing green belt land is built on each year, it’s enough to deliver 100,000 homes.”

What impact are interest rates going to have on the 2024 housing market?

When asked what will happen to interest rates in 2024, Luke Navin provided a concise answer:

“It’s impossible for them to go anywhere but down, although I think it will be a slow decline and that our government will, as it so often does, take its lead from the US.”

Rupert Collingwood said “after a decade of historically low rates, people need to get used to the fact that we now live somewhere between 4%-5%”; and Lloyd-Haywood echoed this sentiment when saying “people should be aware that 1%-2% interest rates simply aren’t real”.

Meanwhile, Navin called near-0% interest rates “dangerous.”

Market activity: transactions and house prices

All three members of the panel agree that 2024 has seen an uptick in transactions and general market activity, although Collingwood caveated this by calling the increase “muted”, suggesting that many potential buyers are currently tire kicking, iterating a hope that early activity will soon start converting into completions.

As for house prices, Lloyd-Hayward believes they will stabilise across the UK and will rise by 2%-3% in the capital.

But it was Luke Navin’s analysis of the London market that left a lasting impression on the gathered crowd.

“Prices have been stagnant in London for some time. And the same can be said for the UK as a whole. Meanwhile, other major investment cities have seen prices climb. This means that London currently looks relatively good value to investors, especially from overseas. Given that London is seen as a safe place to park money, this apparent affordability is certainly going to drive investment into our market through 2024 and beyond.”

Paul Munford, CEO and Founder of Century Capital, added, “It’s delightful to see so many industry colleagues in the same room, and I’m proud to have brought them all together. It’s been a true meeting of minds and the insights that we’ve all been privy to today are going to be invaluable as we head deeper into 2024 and beyond.”

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