The Conservatives never saw it coming.
The journalists never saw it coming.
In truth, half of Labour’s shadow cabinet never saw it coming, either.
Thursday’s election result came as quite a surprise – the third major political upset in less than 12 months. So, as seems to be the thing to do following such events, experts took to the net early on Friday morning to offer their take on which way the property market would swing.
The headlines wrote themselves
The headlines wrote themselves. Even when they didn’t, commentators apparently had a few lying around following Trump’s election.
Articles titled things like “What the General Election results mean for the property market” and “What next for the property market?” quickly emerged. I followed with interest.
But you know what I’ve concluded after following along for a while?
Unlike legislative changes that have clear implications, political uncertainty adjusts a whole heap of variables at once. That means no-one really knows what to expect – as almost every article in turn went on to show…
Get off the fence
“Some experts think uncertainty may return to the sector… others think the property market will continue to remain strong” concluded one article on Friday morning.
Handy stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.
“Political instability could deliver a fall” suggested another, slightly more helpfully. Before following up with “it is likely that property values will remain propped up by a lack of supply” just to cover all bases.
As the days went on, the fence-sitting continued. You could read any of these articles and learn almost nothing at all.
But then this is the third time in less than a year this has happened.
Given the opinion-pieces of the past, should we really be surprised?
Speed or value?
The blog-o-sphere reacted in a similar way post Trump. It did the same thing the day after the Brexit vote, too.
I get it, journalists and bloggers want to be the first to get some analysis out there. It demonstrates expertise draws the crowds in. Readers like to be both informed and reassured, so we can’t resist reading this stuff.
But, ‘could be better, same or worse’ is, well, not terribly enlightening.
A pause for thought can go a long way sometimes. Taking stock and then making some intelligent comment is what we need. The Property Hub’s election special podcast is case in point. No hype, and no panic to be first, just some informed big picture opinion (backed up with research).
No one has a crystal ball, and very few people can ever predict what might happen (consistently…otherwise it’s just luck!).
Look at the stamp duty increase, and the tax increases brought about by Section 24. Few people saw either coming, and these have serious implications for investors.
Given the uncertainty, what’s a landlord to do?
Keep Calm and…
The old Keep Calm and Carry On adage is overused to the point of disdain, but it’s not a bad motto for property investors to refer back to every now and then.
None of us can predict the future – whether we work for a major media outlet or not. That fact alone makes it all the more important to get the fundamentals right when investing in property.
Choosing the right property, understanding your market, conducting thorough due diligence and stress-testing the financials are all under your control no matter what the future holds.
Focus on these then stick around long-term. When you get the basics right you do well. Very well, in fact.
That might not be a prediction but it is a conclusion.
And it’s one that’s as relevant right now as it was on June the 8th.
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