So the parties are ready, the date is set and they’re off! The election will now take centre stage for the next month and there will be plenty of column inches filled with the pros and cons of each of the main contenders as they do battle to outwit their opposite number.
The reality of course is that the election trail started months ago and many of the recent announcements affecting our industry seem to have a scent of electioneering to them.
The Budget was of course a good example without a huge amount of policy and certainly nothing that would sound too upsetting to the electorate. In fact it brought the great news of the Stamp Duty incentive for first-time buyers!
A matter of weeks before, we also heard about an initiative to launch eco home loans that will attach to the property not the borrower. The aim is to incentivise the owner to improve the energy efficiency of their property. We were also told only a week or so ago by Lord Mandelson that UK borrowers can look forward to the ‘People’s Bank’ expanding its offering to include 90% LTV mortgages.
These two announcements sound like very welcome changes but the detail remains a little sketchy. There was little detail of how exactly the eco loans will work and be administered. The release of new mortgage rates from the Post Office brought a brief sense of anticipation at what the high LTV offering might look like, only to find that there were no deals beyond 80% LTV.
This won’t be something that is the preserve of the incumbent government and I fully expect that we can look forward to lots of other proposals that lack detail. The reality is that there will be a lot of PR over the next few weeks and detail is likely to be one of the last things on the agenda. Let’s just hope that it’s not just one long procession of empty PR promises when it comes to new housing and mortgage market initiatives, whether it is from the red or blue corner.