May 8, 2015
The property industry has reacted to the election result with a sigh of relief and yet trepidation at what it could mean in the long run.
The stability of the new government is a short-term boon for the industry. As Alex Price, chief executive of Palmer Capital, said: “The very real prospect of a second election in the near future has gone which can only be a positive for business and the country.”
Several other industry figures welcomed the clarity the vote has brought. Melanie Leech, chief executive of the BPF, said “The Conservatives having a majority provides a clear agenda and the ability to put that into practice.”
This was a view shared by many, and there was a clear sense that the Conservatives would be a strong supporter of the property sector. “We can look forward to a government that I hope will give a high priority to policies to support our industry;” said Matthew Weiner executive director of Development Securities.
The residential sector, in particular, was seen to benefit from Labour’s defeat. Price said: “We have dodged Labour and Lib Dem policies that would have slowed down the residential landscape.”
Leech agreed: “PRS is only going to become more crucial and we have already had some encouraging conversations with the Conservatives on this.”
Conversely, however, the strength of the Conservatives win brings threats of a fractured nation and change in the near future. “We now have a dilemma of two potential referendums during the next government,” said David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation. “In a sense, despite the clear Tory win, we are going to see more uncertainty, which business doesn’t like.”
Not all of this change is bad for everyone. Ezra Nahome, chief executive of Lambert Smith Hampton, said: “This vote paves the way for further devolution. The GLA has been a huge success which means we have the model to replicate across the rest of the country.”
Of course, the big change at the forefront of everyone in the industry’s minds was the EU referendum. Guy Grainger, chief executive of JLL, summed up opinions when he said: “The business and property industries need to properly engage the government and push against the referendum. The result today has given us an optimistic economic outlook but there is still a lot of work for the sector to do.”
Author: Alex Horne, Estates Gazette