HIP pilot could run out of funds

The Association of Home Information Pack Providers has warned that funding could run out for the HIPs pilot it is running across the country in conjunction with the government.

The warning came as it was revealed that pilot schemes would be extended across a further 10 to 12 regions of the country next year, in addition to those launched in Bath, Cambridge, Huddersfield, Newcastle, Northampton and Southampton last week.

Paul Broadhead, deputy director of AHIPP, says the pilot has met with a positive response.

He says: “Over 140 estate agents have registered for the pilot and people seem to like the idea of the packs.

“The association will shortly be announcing details of the next stage of the pilot across another 10 to 12 areas across the UK. This will take place early next year”.

In September the Department for Communities and Local Government pledged £4m of funding to support the six initial area trials.

But Broadhead adds: ‘There is only a limited fund available for this exercise so we may find that it runs out before the pilot is over.”

Not everyone welcomes the way the government has gone about the HIP trials. Trevor Kent, former president of the National Association of Estate Agents, says: “Despite the fact that the intended rollout of mandatory HIPs will cover the whole of England and Wales from June 2007, only six relatively prosperous towns in England have been used for the initial trials, and even in these only a few convenient postcodes have been selected.”

The Connells Group has also announced it is taking part in the government-led trial. It has appointed former Rightmove HIP expert Roger Wilson to head its activities.