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More agencies say political uncertainty hurting housing market

Another agency has warned of the likely market slowdown caused by the June 23 EU referendum and political uncertainty over the result.

In its latest trading statement it mirrored sentiments expressed earlier this week by Countrywide and Marsh & Parsons that the first quarter of the year had been stellar – Foxtons told the City the revenue rose 16.2 per cent to 38.4m in the three months ending March 31, driven by investors and others trying to beat the stamp duty surcharge deadline.

However, it is more pessimistic about the coming period. “We expect the first half of the year to be challenging with a reduced sales pipeline entering into quarter two and the underlying short-term impact on transaction volumes from uncertainty around the referendum” says Foxtons chief executive Nic Budden.

Another London agency, Stirling Ackroyd, says the capitals upcoming Mayoral election – next Thursday – has suggested that political uncertainty over that vote is being reflected in poor house-building figures in the capital.

Stirling Ackroyd claims approvals for new homes have dropped by 64 per cent from the same point a year ago with just 4,320 homes across the capital granted permission in Q1 2016.
On an annualised basis this would result in a total of 17,290 new homes granted approval by Londons planning authorities per year.

By comparison, in Q1 2015, planning departments gave permission for 11,870 new homes across London, or an annualised rate of 47,460.

Not only are planning approvals down across the final full quarter before the mayoral election, the number of applications from developers also fell, particularly on an annual basis. The first quarter this year saw planning applications for a potential 7,050 new homes, significantly behind the 14,400 potential new homes possible in Q1.

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