SELLERS&#39 PACKS RECEIVE QUEEN&#39S SPEECH BOOST

The inclusion of the Homes Bill in the Queen&#39s Speech means sellers&#39 packs are set to become a legal part of the home moving process from 2005.

Sellers&#39 packs were first touted in 1997.

Critics of the sellers&#39 pack concept fear extra costs that could slow down the mortgage market by making home owners more reluctant to move. But supporters claim sellers&#39 packs will shorten the time from offer to exchange of contracts.

Mortgage pundits say the industry should put misgivings aside and prepare for the sellers&#39 pack introduction.

Stephen Smith, Legal & General&#39s director of housing marketing, says: “Now that the necessary legislation has been flagged by the government for the forthcoming session of parliament, the industry will have to start work to plan for their introduction in 2005 or 2006.

But he adds: “Sellers&#39 packs are not a panacea. They will not address the problems caused by chains and they will not eliminate gazumping.

“The cost of packs too, which some commentators have said could be £500, will undoubtedly cause some homeowners to question the wisdom of moving in the first place.”

The Queen&#39s speech was welcomed by Halifax Estate Agents.

It says the packs will have little impact on the costs for home movers, and money will be saved through the reduction in the number of property sales that fall through, reportedly over 30% across the industry each year.

Jane Pridgeon, managing director of Halifax Estate Agents, says: “Without the Sellers&#39 Pack the home buying process will continue to be dragged down by the slowest link in the chain and money will continue to be wasted as sales fall through. Estate agents, solicitors, and surveyors now need to work together, using new technology to ensure the new system is as efficient and cost effective as possible.”