The momentous decision on 23rd June has altered British politics not just in the membership of the European Union, but also the existence of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
At time of writing three political parties are discussing new leaders, the nationalists in Scotland are trying to work out wither they would win a second referendum, if they called one. Sinn Fein is calling for unification of Ireland, even Leanne Wood in Wales is putting independence on the agenda.
The possibility of a general election in the next 12 months is being openly talked about.
Britain as we know it is being stretched to breaking point.
The political map has been redrawn with the decision to exit the European Union.
The next few months are set to be marked by political parties looking inwards, talking to themselves or (arguably) committing regicide.
The priority for the Government is survival until a new leader can be elected and a new agenda will then be set in place. A general election could then take place!
What this means for the private rented sector is unknown. The government does not have much goodwill or time to spend on legislation that is not around the renegotiation of treaties and the exit from the European Union.
All these shenanigans make it seem more like an episode of Game of Thrones than a modern democracy, but hopefully with less bloodshed.
What we do know is that while the future of the United Kingdom is largely beyond our direct control – insert debate about democratic mandates, campaign slogans and the will of the people – we may have a little more control over the immediate future of the private-rented sector.
The fascinating thing about property investment is that it tends to be categorised by long-term stability and a seemingly contradictory trend towards incredible short-term volatility. At the moment we are in danger of feeding that volatility and talking ourselves into a dramatic downturn, which needn’t be inevitable.
We know the market is nervous, domestic buyers are reluctant to commit – and that is understandable. However, perhaps counter-intuitively given what is happening elsewhere, demand from overseas is strong for property in high demand areas, partly in response to the weak Pound and partly because UK property is still seen as a good long-term bet. Likewise uncertainty offers opportunities to those with a long-term plan and superhuman resolve.
Overall there remains (just) enough interest to keep the market afloat, as long as we don’t allow our own actions, or lack there-of, to bring it down
So what now? There aren’t many certainties, but we can draw hope from one or two.
Firstly, whatever happens we will have a new Prime Minister in a few months’ time and almost certainly a new Chancellor. There are no guarantees that this will be an improvement, but few landlords will shed a tear to see the end of Osborne’s reign of terror.
Secondly, the machinery of government in the UK is set to make itself very, very busy for the foreseeable future.
Most importantly whatever happens people will still need somewhere to live. And if the market makes it difficult for landlords to borrow and buy, we can be fairly confident it will be even worse for first-time buyers – meaning there will continue to be a place for private landlords for some time to come.
At this time of complete uncertainty, please help us to keep up to date with landlords’ views and experience by taking part in our quarterly survey by CLICKING HERE.
It takes about 10 minutes to complete, and landlords completing the questionnaire may enter a prize draw for the chance to win a Fortnum and Mason hamper worth £150.