Thursday 6 June 2024

How have General Elections affected house prices over the years?

So, a General Election has been called for 4th July. In the run up to this we’ll witness fiercely contested TV debates and political posturing in an attempt to try and secure your vote. As well as this, each party will be launching housing manifestos, indicating how they plan to tackle the housing market. The thing is though, whatever the politicians throw at it, the UK’s property market is something of a runaway train, whereby their meddling has little effect on the overall course.

It’s often mentioned in the press that the uncertainty caused by an election causes a downturn in property sales in the lead up to the opening of the voting booths. My analysis shows this to be untrue though, as the normal seasonal pattern occurs whether it’s an election year or not; the number of properties sold rises in Spring and Summer and drops again towards the end of the year (almost stalling as we approach Christmas). There’s also little effect upon house prices in the run up to an election or straight afterwards either.

It is interesting to note though that house prices nationally have risen at a greater pace under Labour’s stewardship than under the Conservatives. Whilst house prices have increased by an average of 6.0% in each of the 32 years the Conservatives were in power, Labour have managed to oversee an average rate of 9.4% in each of the 18 years they ruled the roost.
It won’t surprise many of you that Tony Blair’s premiership between 1997 and 2007 was the main contributor to this rapid growth under Labour. He resided over the biggest ‘boom’ in property prices of any British Prime Minister since data began, with the average UK home trebling in price in just ten years (increasing from £61,946 in May 1997 to £186,348 in June 2007).

His successor (Gordon Brown) remains the only Prime Minister to have seen house prices fall during their time in the hot seat though, with an 8.3% drop during his premiership between June 2007 and May 2010. It is debateable, however, whether Liz Truss should now share this honour. Whilst the data suggests a decrease in house prices during her ‘term’, it is rather difficult to confirm this based on only 50 days in office! 

If Rishi Sunak’s time as PM comes to an end next month though, it is likely he too will have overseen a drop in house prices during his premiership. House prices sit lower now than they did when he took over a little under two years ago in October 2022, despite general inflation otherwise roaring during that time.

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