Home Information Packs (HIPS) may be delayed further following the impact of the recent credit crunch on the property and financial markets, warns the Government.
Housing Minister Iain Wright announced last week that ongoing assessment of the success of HIPS was required before the roll-out continues for one and two bedroom houses.
Speaking at the Association of Home Information Pack (AHIPP) annual conference Mr Wright downplayed rumours that it was the failings of the scheme that was causing the delays: "We are monitoring the impact of HIPS in the marketplace before we complete the roll-out,” he said.
“We are at a time of unusual market conditions. Most serious commentators are clear that interest-rate changes, house prices, the end to fixed-rate mortgages for some consumers, stock market uncertainty, concerns about sub-prime lending across the Atlantic and the Northern Rock issue have determined the housing market over the summer. Against that background, it is to be expected that property owners might think twice about putting their property on the market."
However, the MP refused to say when the roll out is planned, stating only that it would be "in due course".
Commenting after the meeting, Mike Ockenden, Director General of AHIPP said: “The Minister’s refusal to indicate the likely timing for full rollout of HIPs to one and two bedroom homes clearly angered many people in the audience.
“They felt very let down by the Government, and the implications of stalling on a full rollout are having a real impact on their livelihood. Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs), Home Inspectors (HIs) and Pack Providers were united in the feedback to Mr Wright – there is no reason for any further delay.”
Despite no firm time frames being set, some market commentators have predicted that the delay could run into the fourth quarter of this year, which would mean an overlap with the next stage of the roll-out.
The HIPS were introduced back in August for homes with four bedrooms, with compulsory HIPS for three-bed homes following in September. Since then, however, the industry has been awaiting the next stage of HIPS for two and one bed homes. The concerns now are that, with an average cost of £400 a pack, the scheme could have a detrimental effect on those at the lower end of the market.
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