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Analysis: After the election, things will take off

Adams Richard MS blog 150

The spring sunshine reminds me we are about to enter a period that is traditionally busy for the property market. So it is full steam ahead as transactions grow and activity really kicks off. Or is it?

While the latest figures we have for transaction levels are for January, HMRC revealed they hit 97,320 during the month: a not insignificant drop of 6 per cent compared to January 2014.

So are we seeing a slower start to the year than anticipated? If so, why? I suspect a major factor is the election. Uncertainty about the result prevails and, with the political parties having differing views, it is no surprise that purchasers – particularly landlords and investors – are hesitant about adding to portfolios before 7 May.

The housing market hates uncertainty so we should not be surprised if there is continued pullback in transactions. If so, it heightens the importance of providing a full advice service across multiple product areas.

The good news is that demand remains strong, there is a commitment to build more homes from all parties and therefore, I suspect, the market will truly get into its stride from the summer.



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Japan Economic Insight

James Dowey, Chief Economist, and Paul Caruana-Galizia, Economist

The conventional wisdom is that following a roughly 50 per cent rise in the stock market in 2013 in Yen terms, the Japan trade is over and done*. So the story goes, those big gains were due to a one-off boost from quantitative easing (QE) and a depreciation of the Yen — policies that one should think of as a palliative to Japan’s economic weakness, but not a cure. Rather the cure, and by implication the necessary condition for a longer-term investment case, is deep structural reforms — a painstaking re-weaving of Japan’s economic and social fabric, no less. The story continues: this is a much tougher test than launching a blast of QE, and one that prime minister Shinzo Abe, although well intentioned and well supported by the public thus far, is likely to fail. Stick a fork in Japan, it’s done…continue reading


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