Home Information Packs

The Home Information Pack (HIP) is
being blamed for “stunting market recovery” according to estate agents. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) in a recent survey reported that of its members, ten per cent of agents believed the number of sellers would double if HIPs were suspended.

The NAEA survey also discovered a fifth of all agents believed the number of sellers would increase by 20 to 25 per cent, with a huge 91 per cent “adamant that customers paid little or no attention to the controversial packs anyway”.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found stock of homes was down, despite buyer interest picking up. RICS have also
noted “anecdotal evidence” suggested HIPs were decreasing the number of buyers
coming forward.
Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA, said: “The housing market has seen a number of positive signs in 2009, particularly an increased demand for property and more sales being completed.

“However this will be unsustainable without a steady supply of housing. HIPs are controversial and in the NAEA’s opinion, relatively useless. That is bad enough, but these figures suggest that professional agents believe that they are actively harming the market.”

In April the laws on HIPs were changed, so they were required to be completed before a home was advertised for sale. They also must now include additional information, including a Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ), and can cost the seller up to £400 to complete.

The NAEA figures suggest that in April, the average estate agent had 67 properties available to sell, compared with 84 in April 2008 and 100 in December.

“The figures are significant because of fears that housing market recovery is being stunted because increased demand for property among buyers is not being matched by a supply of houses for sale.

“The government should look at scrapping these packs, at the very least until the market has recovered. At that stage they should be reviewed. The NAEA would be happy to offer its professional opinion as to the best way forward,” Mr Bolton King added.