Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Home information packs should carry "health warning"

New reports published today by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and The Law society both express serious concern to government over how home information packs (HIPs) will be implemented on time, and the risks of making over-optimistic assumptions about their market impact. The Law Society warned that a crucial "health warning" must be carried on all Home Information Packs.
The Council of Mortage lenders delivers three key messages
Eleven weeks after the 1 June 2007 was announced as the "go live" date for HIPs, the Government has still not published a detailed timetable for their implementation. Without this it is difficult to have confidence in the process at all.
The CML is concerned that neither the Government nor the public fully understand how little impact the home condition report (HCR) element of the HIP will initially have on the mortgage process. The HCR will not remove the need for lenders to conduct valuations on each transaction to assess potential levels of lending risk. If the HCR is robust and easily accessible, then over time fewer physical valuations may be needed. But as at the "go live" date, most properties will still need a valuation inspection.
The Government must also consider the possible impact HIPs will have on the housing market. The CML has already identified the likelihood of a "feast and famine" in the flow of properties coming onto the market as a result of HIPs going live. But HIPs might also create other unintentional consequences. We are disappointed that as yet the Government has done little to simulate the potential impact of HIPs, and we urge them to do so urgently.
Kevin Martin, Law Society president, is concerned that, without the warning, there will be serious risks to the consumer: ”HIPs contain important legal documents on which professional advice must be obtained. Without appropriate warnings there is a real risk that a buyer could be pressurised into buying a property without independent advice. Buying a home is often the biggest single purchase most people make.”
For the full reports see the following links.
(http://www.cml.org.uk/cml/policy/responses) to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Suffolk features in New Planning Pilots for large developments

Babergh District Council will take part in "New pilot projects" intended to improve and speed up the planning process for large and complex developments, launched by the Housing and Planning Minister Yvette Cooper.

The Planning Delivery Agreement pilots are designed to give greater certainty to developers over the handling of their applications, provide a project management framework for local authorities and ensure that communities are properly consulted early on in the process.

Under the pilots, developers, local planning authorities and other stakeholders will work together with a commitment to an agreed project plan. This will set out a defined timeframe for a decision, highlight the resources and community engagement required, and ensure that sustainability and design standards are properly considered.

Yvette Cooper said: "There has already been great improvements in handling planning applications but too often very large applications take a long time to sort out, creating uncertainty for both developers and the local community.

"The planning system needs to do more to support sustainable development. By improving the process for handling these applications Planning Delivery Agreements will help to make the planning system more efficient so that community groups and developers alike know what the timetable is and where they stand."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Estate Agents new Clare Office off to a flying start

Bychoice Estate Agents received a warm welcome when they opened there third in office in 14 months bucking the market trend. "It's been a testing year" said Todd Lewis of Bychoice, "but November and December proved amazing service, quality particulars, floorplans and virtual tours are a big hit with buyers and sellers".
Bychoice has gone from strength to strength since Channel 4's Andrew Winter opened the Sudbury office in October 2004, in a blaze of publicity, now at the start of 2006 the future appears bright for BYchoice.
Clare Steadman formerly of William Goodwin will be on hand for valuations and property management, said "Clare is such a wonderful market town, I'm excited to be able to bring the Bychoice experience to the Town 7 days a week, and allready we've had a fantastic response."
17 Market Hill, Clare, Suffolk CO10 8NN.
Tel 01787 278890