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News: HIPs: Government failing miserably

Tue, 11 Sep 07

The second phase launch of HIPs is likely to cause further disruption to property supply...

As the government launches the second phase of its controversial home information packs (HIPs) initiative, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has warned that the three bedroom homes market is likely to suffer as a consequence.

The Association’s latest survey of members has revealed that following the first phase launch on the 1st August the number of four bedroom plus properties on the market decreased in many areas. 63% of agents reported decreases in the number of larger properties on their books over and above the seasonal norm.

On average agents reported drops of 37%. Homeowners staying out of the market to avoid HIPs was cited as the main reason for the decrease.

Lack of supply

Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive at the NAEA, comments: “Our concerns have always been that the introduction of HIPs would lead to a lack of supply following implementation. This does indeed seem to be the case with four bedroom homes and is now likely to be replicated in the three bedroom homes market. The next few months will prove crucial in seeing whether HIPs are going to cause the sort of problems we feared.”

NAEA members revealed that the average price being paid for a HIP is currently around £350, indicating that in most cases the Pack is being put together without the voluntary home condition report (HCR) element as was predicted. This was potentially the only other useful part of the Pack after the energy performance certificate (EPC).

Agents across the country have been demonstrating strong feelings towards the Packs. One NAEA member, based in the East Midlands, commented: “The introduction of HIPs is currently having a severe adverse effect on our market place. We dread to think what will happen as HIPs for three bedroom properties and other homes come into force.” Another agent simply commented: “A complete waste of money and effort. They serve no useful purpose.”

Government failing

Similar sentiments have been mirrored by a number of estate agents across the country. One agent lamented, “It seems nobody in government understands the buying and selling process at all.” Another commented: “The pack was brought in to reduce abortive costs and achieve a faster exchange of contracts – both of the government’s aims have failed miserably.”

Peter Bolton King concludes: “The most important thing for consumers and the market right now is that the government maintains the right for first day marketing of a property. This has been allowed temporarily and is up for review at the end of the year. We sincerely hope that the Housing Minister will recognise the great importance of being able to market a property straight away and that first day marketing will be extended indefinitely.”

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