QWith the Budget just round the corner, and a general election in May, is there any point putting my home on the market now?
AThe budget is probably not something you need to worry about. After all, the chancellor has only just taken steps to boost the property market by reforming Stamp Duty. But in any case, even if he was minded to do so, he’s hardly likely to announce any bad news this close to an election!
The election itself is a different matter, however. It is undeniable that general elections do tend to have something of a depressing effect on the market - probably due to the extra uncertainty they introduce into our lives. Consequently, both buyers and sellers have a tendency to hold back from making any major decisions until the result – and the consequences of that result – have become clearer.
In the case of this particular election, that uncertainty may be even greater than usual, since the result looks too close to call. Indeed, with voting fragmented between more parties than ever before, many commentators view the most likely result to be another hung parliament. Talk of a possible Mansion Tax doesn’t help, either.
Given all this, I can certainly understand why you might be tempted to wait and see how the land lies. After all, from your question, you’re clearly not in any tearing hurry to move. Besides, you could always spend the next few weeks getting everything lined up so that you can be one of the first to hit the market once the political dust has settled.
But then again, if you really do need to move home fairly soon – and if your current property is already in tiptop condition – then there’s an equally strong case for going to market right away, rather than waiting. After all, while some buyers may have other things on their minds, this is likely to be offset by the fact that there is a serious shortage of properties on the market at the moment. Besides, the uncertainty engendered by an election doesn’t always evaporate immediately the votes are counted.
There are potential pluses and minuses in every situation.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong time to put your home on the market.
You must do it when it suits you - election or no election.