I am in search of a crystal ball – if anyone has one! So many people want to know the outcome of this May’s General Election. I mean if I knew, what wisdom I could impart to my current and future clients… I really could be the Sage of Notting Hill.
Why are people so concerned about this election? Well, I think that this election, more than any recent elections is being measured as a vital one for overall confidence in the London property market. Despite the marked increase in the higher bands of SDLT introduced by George Osborne on December 3rd 2014, London is still a relatively safe bet for property investment.
Everyone is talking about the possible ‘Mansion Tax’ – a spectre that has been haunting us for well over a year now. However, I think that most people are expecting something in the future most likely in the shape of increased bands of Council Tax – a far more sensible option (in my opinion). To a large extent I think that the introduction of some sort of tax along these lines has already been factored into the market.
What is far more important – again, in my opinion – is the overall attraction of London to foreign investors and I mean not just those looking to park money, but even more importantly, those who are looking to actually live and work in London. The current Government has made London extremely attractive to those people seeking to relocate here from all over the world, but particularly in this area, to Europeans who have moved families here as London simply has better opportunities than the countries that they are coming from.
This could all easily unravel if a new Government kowtows to populist public opinion and bashes all the spirit and entrepreneurialism out of this country’s engine of growth – London.
Meanwhile – it’s all guesswork really. The polls are up and down, a recent surge has put the Conservatives on 36%, and two points higher than Labour. But the real variable is going to depend on what way the current populous who are indicating that they will vote for the minority parties, particularly UKIP, The Liberal Democrats and The Green Party, who between them are currently polling with the support of around 28% of the electorate. The potential effects of a swing, to or away from these parties, are going to create our future political landscape.
One thing is for certain – it’s going to be exciting!