Housebuilders react to election result

Housebuilders have expressed concern over the result of the general election in which no party has won an overall majority suggesting an uncertain time ahead.

The surprise result saw the Conservatives set to lose 13 seats, one of which was housing minister Gavin Barwell, resulting in a hung parliament.

“The result was unexpected, and the housing market faces uncertainty which is not good for sales,” said Guy Higgins, md of William Davis. “Whether the policies of the Housing White Paper will be pushed through, at the moment we don’t know. But whatever the format of the new government, both Labour and the Conservatives recognise the need for housing, whether it be an emphasis on affordable or market housing.” He also noted the resilience of the housing market following last year’s surprise referendum result.

“No business likes uncertainty and housebuilders like it least of all,” said Greg Hill, deputy ceo at Hill. “This hung parliament and the horse-trading that will take place over housing policy to get a coalition in place means that many housebuilders will hit the pause button on their investment decisions.”
However, he added: “There is room for compromise and we have seen all political parties put housing at the centre of their manifestos.”

Meanwhile, Jason Rishover, ceo of Heronslea Group, highlighted the uncertainty triggered by the result and its possible impact on Brexit: “This shock result means that all the uncertainty surrounding the housing market and the lack of confidence in buyers will continue. It will be time consuming and challenging for both parties to agree on policies. Brexit will now be much more problematic.”

Bjorn Howard, group ceo of housing developer Aster Group, stressed the need for a new government to be formed quickly “so that we can continue to build on the progress made in recent years in supporting the housing and housebuilding sectors.” He also noted the major parties’ focus on housing in their manifestos.