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August 26, 2008

Hips review needed as housing market continues to slow

Permalink: Hips review needed as housing market continues to slow
by Kay Mitchell

Hips review needed as housing market continues to slow

Estate agents are urging the Government to review Home Information Packs (Hips) in an effort to help the struggling housing market.

Hips have long been the subject of criticism since they were introduced over a year ago and have been branded a waste of time, according to a recent survey by YouGov.

The packs were introduced to speed up the home buying and selling process as well as providing consumers with a faster and more cost effective service.

A Hip costs sellers around £350 and contain title deeds and an energy performance certificate. Furthermore, local searches are a requirement in the packs, however, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), they are out of date by the time a property is sold.

The NAEA is calling for a simpler pack just to include a sellers’ questionnaire, an Energy Performance Certificate, and the Land Registry title and plan.

Peter Bolton King, the NAEA’s chief executive, said the with the deteriorating economic situation, the Government must take action on Hips.

However, the Department of Communities and Local Government is arguing that the scheme is bringing benefits to buyers and sellers and are assisting families to reduce their fuel bills and carbon emissions, in addition to reducing the cost of local searches.

An independent review of Hips was carried out in June by Sir Bryan Carsberg who recommended that the scheme be made voluntary, after establishing that it added to administration and costs but did not provide reliable information.

Ipsos MORI, a multi-specialist research company, recently discovered that only 8% of buyers felt that Hips had sped up the home-buying process, while 75% said that Hips had no affect on their decision on what home to buy.


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