What if the Tories scrap Hips…

By David Pett, director of Hip2go in Norwich:

db_01_David_Pett.jpgI wonder whether the Conservatives have given any thought on how their policy will affect the market come early next year. If, as expected, the election is held in May or by 3 June at the very latest, a Conservative Party pledge to scrap HIPs would be likely to cause vendors to hold off putting their houses on the market until after the election, during what is normally the busiest period of the year. Recovery in the housing sector is already fragile and this would stifle further recovery to the detriment of the whole economy

Do HIPs add to the cost of selling? No. If HIPs are scrapped the seller will still need to commission the EPC and property searches and the cost of this will be no cheaper than a HIP!  In all probability the price of EPCs and property searches would increase.  Indeed, the price of property searches since the introduction of HIPs has come down by around a third. At present the only extra cost to the selling process is the EPC as all of the other documents in the HIP would be required with or without the HIP!

Is the HIP of benefit to the consumer? The anti-lobbyists comprise some estate agents and lawyers. It is in their interests to ensure that reforms to the home selling and buying process are kept to the minimum. They have all done well out of the boom years under the old regime and see no reason for change. They have little regard to the consumer’s best interests. Over the summer, Ipsos MORI conducted a survey of over 2,000 consumers actively involved in the home buying and selling process.  The results are due to be published shortly. I can at this time tell you that the headline findings show a positive consumer attitude towards improving the home buying and selling process through the provision of upfront information.

Another way of looking at the arguments is to consider what the consumer would be left with without the HIP.   In short we would be left with:

  • An antiquated home selling and buying system – one which up until the HIP was introduced had not been reformed since 1925!
  • A return to those days of wasted costs on abortive sales and speculative selling.
  • Increased property search prices
  • The loss of the innovative work of HIP suppliers as regards for example ‘ready to exchange’ packs. Ideas designed to speed up the conveyancing process and save further cost.

*David Pett’s on 01603 275100 or 0845 01769 96.

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