An analyst has worked out what happens to London house prices under three scary political scenarios

Emma Haslett
Follow Emma
The House Of Commons Votes On Airstrikes Against Islamic State After An All-day Debate
The price of Jeremy Corbyn's Islington home could be hit if he won the next election (Source: Getty)

Politics: it's been decidedly unpredictable in recent years. Not surprisingly, the resulting uncertainty has led to homeowners taking a moment to consider whether now is the best time to buy or sell.

Now an analyst at UBS Wealth Management has confronted three of property owners' scariest political nightmares head-on, working out exactly what would happen to London house prices if they came to pass. Homeowners, take note: it's not easy reading.

Read more: The London areas where property prices have increased the most since 2009

1. What happens if the finance sector flees London after Brexit?

Some 700,000 people work in the capital's financial services sector, and according to research by PwC, 100,000 of those will be forced to up sticks and move to Europe by 2020 if the UK fails to reach a so-called passporting deal for the sector before Brexit.

The UBS analysis suggests of the 3.5m dwellings in London, a mass exodus like that could lead to between 1.1 per cent and 2.9 per cent suddenly becoming available.

Similarly, the number of new homes available would increase by somewhere between two and five times.

I assumes that would lead to house prices taking a hit, although it adds: "It is difficult to know how this translates to a price impact as new supply would presumably be curbed under such conditions, and location-specific dynamics would also come in to play."

Read more: Is the UK heading for a house price crash? These economists thinks so

2. What happens if Jeremy Corbyn wins the next election?

The good news for homeowners (and bad news for those voting Labour in the hopes of a let-up in house price growth) is although the Labour manifesto promised to build 1m homes and extend Help to Buy until 2027, that's unlikely to have much of an impact on new supply in the housing market.

However, the cost of home ownership would be likely to increase by about two per cent thanks to Corbyn's new land value tax, which would replace council tax - and those with a garden could find themselves punished even more.

But the research concludes: "Without details on how a land value tax is calculated, it is difficult to get clear comparisons.

"The council tax system, however, in many eyes is due for an overhaul anyway, and thus perhaps the introduction of a land value tax could do this and more."

Read more: House prices bounced back in June

3. What happens if net migration falls below 100,000?

The Conservatives have repeatedly promised (and repeatedly failed) to cut net migration to the tens of thousands. The good news, for those saving to buy their first home, is that cutting migration by that much would slash population growth from 460,000 a year, or about 0.7 per cent per year, to 260,000, or 0.4 per cent per year.

"[House prices] would most likely suffer as a result of reduced demand, though the population would still be growing," suggests the research.

Given 40 per cent of homes in London are owned by people from outside the UK, the capital would find itself hardest-hit. In fact, the analysis reckons demand for homes in the capital would fall by the equivalent of 1.25 years of new house supply.

Read more: UK landlords feeling downbeat as weakening house prices bite

Uncertainty rules

Those aside, Caroline Simmons, deputy head of UBS Wealth Management's UK investment office, suggested the main factor affecting house prices right now was unpredictability.

“Recent political uncertainty from Theresa May’s minority government and Brexit negotiations is likely to weigh on consumer confidence, denting UK house sales in the near term," she said.

"There was a notable decline in new buyer enquiries following the General Election, which we expect to persist over the short term."

Read more: The London areas where property prices have increased the most since 2009

Related articles