Anthony Wood at Samuel Wood and Co considers the property market in the aftermath of the 2015 general election and the new government’s approach to housing – or not!
The Queen has never had to be too concerned about her own housing. Of course Buckingham Palace was bombed during the war and there was that dreadful fire at Windsor Castle in 1992 – her annus horribilis. But with Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Holyrood House, Hillsborough Castle, Sandringham House, Balmoral Castle and Craigowan Lodge to choose from there is no shortage of royal accommodation. So housing concerns must be left to the Queen’s subjects.
Royal or not, having a roof over one’s head is a big matter – one of the most fundamental of human requirements and desires whoever you are. So when the Queen read out her speech at the opening of parliament she may have been intrigued as to what her government was going to do about housing. After all there was a lot said about it in the run up to the election.
We had had plenty of mansion tax talk and debate concerning non-dom status and stamp duty rises - not to mention rent caps, three year tenancies and restricted landlord tax relief. All this without doubt helped to cool the housing market across the UK and may have even played a small role in Labour’s downfall at the ballot box.
But in the event the Queen didn’t say very much about housing at all. In fact all she did say from a 1007 word speech were twenty words, "Legislation will be introduced to support home ownership and give housing association tenants the chance to own their own home." Apart from extending the right to buy to housing association tenants, housing it seems has once again been kicked into the parliamentary long grass while matters like Scotland, Europe and the Middle East sit in the much shorter grass.
Never mind. Without all the fears of what another government might do and now knowing what this government won’t do means that it is once again business as usual in the housing world. Already there are clear signs that the market is recovering quickly from its pre-election jitters. This will we hope please the Queen. It certainly will please most of her subjects.