Lexicon plays down estate agent HIPs attack

Ramesh Sharma

January 21, 2006

With brokers concerned estate agents could take their mortgage clients following the June 2007 introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs), research conducted by Lexicon has revealed a mixed response to HIPs in the estate agency sector.

The telephone survey, conducted among 50 estate agents nationwide, revealed almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of respondents had little knowledge about the packs.

However, despite many estate agencies not yet being geared up for HIPs, 62 per cent of those questioned believed they would provide a longer-term solution to improving market confidence. Conversely, 58 per cent argued the packs would provide a negative impact in the run-up to 2007, with fears that vendors would hold back on marketing their properties.

Overall, the research revealed a split between those who saw the packs as an opportunity and those who felt it was a threat.

Despite a mixed response to HIPs within the estate agent market, Mark Glithero, managing director of Lexicon, admitted estate agents were in pole position to benefit from HIPs. He said: “Estate agents are at the head of the house-buying process and will feel the impact of HIPs first. They are closest to the consumer and their concerns demand attention and action.”

96 per cent of agents believed consumers had no awareness of the packs, with 77 per cent arguing the government should do more to educate the public’s understanding of HIPs.

James Carter, IFA at Virtue Financial, said: “Some estate agents have been trying to take mortgage business but we are still busy and to sell mortgages they have to have fully-qualified members of staff dealing with applications.”

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