Leader: An unpopularity contest

If the readers of Mortgage Strategy could decide the general election there would be no risk of a hung parliament, with 56% voting Conservative in our latest straw poll.

Unfortunately for Tory leader David Cameron, the brokers voting on Mortgage Strategy Online don’t seem to be representative of the wider voting public.

In the wake of the leaders’ debate on ITV last Thursday and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s strong performance the polls showed the Lib Dems increasing their share of the vote to 20% from 18%, while Labour’s fell from 32% to 31% and the Tories’ from 41% to 38%.

Clegg was widely perceived to have won the debate. If this was to translate to the election in May, projections by website UK Polling Report show the Tories on track to fall short of an overall majority by 32 seats – in other words a hung parliament. And that would take the housing market and the wider economy into uncharted territory.

Latest data from the National Association of Estate Agents showing the number of properties for sale at its highest for six months is obviously a good sign, but with the country going through the upheaval of an election it will be interesting to see how consumer confidence and buyer appetite hold up.

Meanwhile, there has unfortunately been no big improvement in the provision of mortgage finance. The reality is that whichever party takes over and irrespective of the spin they put on it, they will face limited options.

Getting down the deficit, cutting spending and getting the wholesale funding market working are bullets no party or parliament will be able to dodge.