Holding our breath as we await change


Rumours about May 6 being the date of the election abound so the country is engaged in a bout of collective breath-holding.

The national debt is a big issue for whichever party ends up in power and the economy will continue to falter until there is more clarity on how this will be tackled.

In the run-up to the election the government is unlikely to try any dramatic initiatives, and with the Bank of England base rate frozen and quantitative easing dumped the Bank is steering a steady course.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has called for a focus on developing a sustainable funding model for mortgages rather than continuing to obsess about liquidity. Without this we will continue to have a distorted sector, with new entrants struggling to get established and existing lenders drip-feeding the market.

While it’s encouraging to see more products there is still a dire shortage of housing stock for sale, with the market almost exclusively relying on forced sales due to death, debt and relocation.

The other common forced sale situation, divorce, has been restricted as couples stay together for economic reasons.

The housing recovery will remain fragile until discretionary sellers return, credit availability improves and there is clarity about the cost of a new administration’s fiscal policy. So we don’t know where we’re going but, as a cartoon I saw recently said, let’s hope it’s nice when we get there.