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HIPs will expose shortage of surveyors, says xit2 survey

The prediction of a chronic shortfall is revealed in an xit2 survey of senior figures in the housing market including lenders, intermediaries, estate agents, surveyors and solicitors.

Should HIPs be introduced, they will create the requirement for a Home Condition Report on every property being sold. Just 3% thought that there would be enough surveyors to handle this increase.

Paul Duckworth, managing director of xit2, says: “This is a remarkable response. Our feeling was that surveying numbers were low, but these results will force the market to sit up and take notice. In an already overstretched industry, this situation could create a significant delay in the marketing of properties.

“Without enough RICS qualified surveyors, the UK may be forced to follow the trend in other countries whereby building firms offer surveying services. Builders often turn to surveying to gain a competitive advantage in quoting for remedial work. However, it is likely that lenders will lack confidence in a non-RICS individual valuing the property, which will inevitably lead to a further report being conducted creating a further delay.

“One way to mitigate this deficit is an increase in lenders using automated valuation models for low LTV loans although this will only offer a solution to a small percentage of the housing stock.”

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Strong dollar can be a powerful driver of UK dividend growth in 2015

By Robin Geffen, fund manager and CEO 

This year threatens to be a challenging one for UK dividend hunters. Last year saw an all-time record amount paid out in UK dividends — some £97.4bn, according to research from Capita Dividend Monitor. Yet as Capita also pointed out, out the biggest single factor driving the growth in the fourth quarter of last year was easy to identify: the rising US dollar. 

In our view, this trend is much more than simply a one-quarter phenomenon. It is actually the most profound issue to get right as a UK equity income investor in 2015. We believe that the US dollar will continue to strengthen significantly from its current level. This is due more to the US economy’s demonstrable de-coupling from the rest of the world than to a view on the UK. The US has a strong chance of tightening monetary conditions this year without jeopardising growth or de-stabilising its housing market. The same can unfortunately not be said about the UK.

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