UK CEO of PEXA, Joe Pepper, comments on the published manifestos ahead of the UK General Election

By Joe Pepper - June 17, 2024

Last week was big for policies, promises and ideas from the political sphere as the UK’s major parties have now published their manifestos. And as expected, the housing market has emerged as a key battleground and will remain so throughout the election.

But while we have healthy ambition from both the Conservative and Labour parties to ease our current housing crisis, with 1.6m and 1.5m homes promised respectively – the need to overhaul the infrastructure that sits behind our housing market has been overlooked entirely. Without it, these promises won’t be deliverable.

Stimulating the housing market is crucial for economic growth, particularly at a time when affordability issues are stifling transactional activity and homeowners seeking to remortgage are facing significantly higher rates. All political parties rightly acknowledge the detrimental impact of this sluggish housing market, and that there is a definitive need for change, so these headline policies are commendable.

However, as it stands, they are undermined by a failure to address some of the core challenges in the property transaction process which must follow the proposed construction. Stimulating growth in the market at the front end must be underpinned by support for the digitalisation of the back office – the current conveyancing infrastructure is simply not equipped to handle a significant or sustained increase in transactions. You only have to look back to the chaos caused by the last stamp duty holiday. Lenders and conveyancers are already stretched thin and lack the resources to cope with the heightened demand these policies will inevitably create. It’s akin to putting your foot on the accelerator with the handbrake still on.

The role of private sector investing in technology and digital transformation will be pivotal in alleviating this pressure. But we are also acutely aware that while private investment is vital for change, it will only work on a national scale if supported correctly on a governmental level. Cross-sector commitment and collaboration to achieve modernisation is the only way to realise the transformative potential that technology holds for the property market.

While the proposed policies are a step in the right direction, it is vital for any new government to commit to encouraging private investment in the conveyancing system. It is the only way that we can empower conveyancers, support lenders, and provide the necessary infrastructure to truly revitalise the housing market for the benefit of the entire economy.

Last updated: 17/06/2024

PEXA is the trading name of Digital Completion UK Limited.
Registered Office: Suite 5a, West Village, 114 Wellington Street, Leeds, LS1 1BA.
Registered in England and Wales. Company No. 12830944.
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