Grant Shapps: Lack of trust condemned HIPs to failure

Nia Williams

September 10, 2010

The new Government scrapped HIPs within days to provide certainty to the property market, and help it during the recovery by reducing the cost of selling a home. The end of HIPs has already seen a jump in the number of properties being put on the market, and will save consumers an estimated £870m over ten years.

The research, published today, by Ipsos Mori found that while over 90% of people buying a house want information about its condition, fewer than one in six trust this information when it is provided by the seller.

Home buyers were ‘very concerned’ about the reliability of information they received from sellers, and over 75% claimed they would only trust information from an independent surveyor that they had appointed. More experienced buyers preferred to use an informal inspection by a builder, plumber or electrician who they already knew rather than use a condition survey.

Shapps said the research, which was commissioned by Communities and Local Government last year, showed that adding extra layers of regulation to improve the property market does not work.

Commenting, he said: “It was always obvious that HIPs were deeply unpopular with people selling homes because they created needless cost and hassle. What is now clear is that people buying homes didn’t rate them either.

“People who buy and sell homes want to know more about their condition, but forcing them to swap bits of information they don’t want or trust is a foolish way to try and improve the property market.

“That’s why in future this information will be provided on a strictly voluntary basis. We will allow the housing sector to develop products that include the information consumers actually want, and that they can rely on when buying a home.”

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