By David Pett, of Hip2go in Norwich
In short they see the HIP as a:
- Damaging barrier to the housing market
- Restricting factor on the supply of housing
- Duplication of sale costs
- Burden to the consumer
On the face of it and without closer analysis do these reasons stack up? Even if they do, the real question which needs to be considered is whether it would still in the best interest of the consumer be wise to ‘scrap’ a system without having an alternative plan for reform? The introduction of HIPs was shambolic, that there is no doubt. However credit must be given to the Government for making changes to the home selling and buying process, the first changes since 1925! It’s easy to pick holes and attack. but much harder to come up with ideas on how an antiquated system can be improved for the benefit of the consumer.
So let us look at the Conservative’s arguments.
Is the HIP restricting the supply of property to the housing market?
There is no evidence to support this view. Other more significant factors are more likely to be the cause such as the shortage of mortgage funds and rising unemployment. Apart from the cost of the EPC which the Conservatives are looking to retain, there is no extra upfront expense to the home seller and purchaser. The cost of the HIP which is around £300 plus VAT can in any event be deferred using interest free credit with Lloyds Bank and Close Brothers, active lenders in this market. Furthermore, the Conservatives are proposing an increase in the Stamp Duty threshold which would be a far more effective means of encouraging people to market their property.