Wednesday, February 08, 2006

ESTATE AGENTS FIGHT FOR CONSUMERS' INTERESTS.

Property professionals tell government "You've got it wrong" over plans for compulsory Home Information Packs.

Bychoice Estate agents of Sudbury have linked up with a powerful group of estate agents, joined by chartered surveyors and solicitors has written to Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper MP calling on her to drop plans for the introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs) in June 2007. The group say HIPs will be "detrimental to the consumer; could dislocate the property market and will fail to significantly improve the home buying process."

500 heads of firms representing over 1,650 offices in England and Wales are warning government that HIPs will cost home sellers and buyers over £600 million pounds every year in extra costs yet will fail to deal with the problems of delay, frustration and abortive cost in home buying.

The letter's signatories include household names such as Knight Frank and Savills, but it is not only top firms that are up in arms. Hundreds of smaller firms and local agents from all over the country, dealing in all price ranges, have signed up too. Todd Lewis MNAEA commented “this will hundreds of pounds to the cost of moving and add further delay in marketing”
London estate agent, Nick Salmon, a fellow of the National Association of Estate Agents leads the group and says that HIPs will have very serious consequences for the public.

"The government is about to con the consumer that HIPs is a magic cure for the problems incurred in home buying whereas in fact it will be an expensive disaster for everyone except the commercial enterprises that have set up to cash in on this new, annual billion pound market. There will be a 30% reduction in the number of properties put up for sale each year as sellers are deterred by the £700 to £1000 cost of a Pack. That reduction in supply will cause massive house price inflation."

"Buyers and sellers will be disappointed and angry to discover that the expensive HIP will leave them still facing most of the problems currently inherent in the property buying system including gazumping, gazundering, and chains. The government are forcing us over the edge of a precipice by pushing this through and it is the consumer who will pay. This is 'Prescott's Penalty' on the housing market and it must be stopped."

"We would all like to make home buying easier but the government is deaf to any constructive criticism levelled at HIPs. So now the property industry is coming together to protect the interests of the consumer and calls upon the Housing Minister to shelve the implementation."

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