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Estate agent chairman calls for a general election to rescue housing industry

PUBLISHED: 15:47 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:12 13 October 2019

Nick Taylor, chairman of the NDAEA, Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents, with more than 30 members. Pic: Archant

Nick Taylor, chairman of the NDAEA, Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents, with more than 30 members. Pic: Archant

A leading estate agent has called for a general election to aid the housing market on a day of double woe today for the industry.

OntheMarket started up in 2015 but is reporting financial losses. Pic: Archant libraryOntheMarket started up in 2015 but is reporting financial losses. Pic: Archant library

Nick Taylor, chairman of the NDAEA, Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents, the voice of more than 30 member agents, and MD of Hadley Taylor estate agency, said: "The government is no longer in charge. What we have at present is a parliamentary junta supported by a partisan speaker whose task is to decide whether to revoke, call a second referendum or cobble together some half-baked deal which keeps us in servitude forever.

"All three of these options will cause a level of civil unrest that will make the antics of Extinction Rebellion look like a tea party. What the country needs, what the economy needs and what the property market needs is a general election, and fast."

His comments came as one of the UK's major property websites, OntheMarket, founded only four years ago, today reported pre-tax losses of £7.1m for the six months to July 31, compared to £5.7m last year. It blamed Brexit uncertainty for its financial woes and slashed prices on its contracts to attract more agents to sign up.

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Meanwhile, more than a third of surveyors today reported the supply of homes being put up for sale decreased rather than increased last month - the worst since June 2016 - in the latest report by RICS, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors..

Mr Taylor, who runs his estate agency situated on Leopold Road in Norwich, said: "I'm not surprised that Onthemarket is feeling the squeeze. Retailers, restaurant chains, travel businesses and car dealerships are all feeling the squeeze and we read about their business failures on a daily basis.

"The property sector still hasn't seen volumes rise to 2007 levels and they may never return. The government has cooked the goose that laid the golden egg by being too greedy on stamp duty. Another reason why we aren't moving house so much is due to poor wage inflation until quite recently which has resulted in a lack of aspirational house movers. Furthermore, equity release has rendered downsizing to a thing of the past.

"The elephant in the room is, of course, Brexit. Or rather not Brexit itself but the constant and never-ending state of limbo we have had to endure."

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