There has been a recent last-gasp flurry of activity from the anti-home information pack lobby, comprising the usual gloom and doom predictions for the housing market from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the National Association of Estate Agents, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
The response from the government has been to refuse to even meet representatives from these organisations, much to their fury, and a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government commented: “We know that some of the organisations that make money out of the current system are resistant to change. Given the threat from climate change, it is disappointing that they continue to oppose energy performance certificates, which will give people proper energy information on their homes for the first time.”
In other, plain English words: “Up yours mate, this is going to happen whether you like it or not.”
In reply to the clamours for further delays in the implementation of the HIPs legislation, another spokesman said, correctly, that the property industry has known about the June 1 date for the past 18 months. In other words: “Stop whingeing, you’ve had more than enough time to prepare.”
In reply to a written Parliamentary question early last month, communities and local government secretary Ruth Kelly said: “We intend to lay the amended Home Information Pack Regulations on March 29 in time for the introduction of the compulsory scheme on June 1 2007.”
And in his Budget speech, Gordon Brown, chancellor of the exchequer, spelt out the government’s measures to reduce carbon emissions both from homes and businesses.
On March 25 the government started its consumer awareness campaign with full-page advertisements in the national press explaining the nature of HIPs and the fact they become law on June 1.
Hello, wake up, smell the coffee, see the big picture. There is a consistent and unequivocal message coming from the government: HIPs are going to happen on June 1.
So what have mortgage brokers and distributors put in place to take advantage of this sea change to the housing market? Answer: nothing.
Commentators such as Kevin Paterson of Park Row seem to spend an inordinate amount of their time convincing brokers HIPs are a waste of time, while Ray Boulger of John Charcol has said: “I do not think it [HIPs] means very much to brokers, frankly”.
Well, sorry gentlemen, I beg to differ. To explain my credentials in talking about this subject, Network Data set up a wholly owned subsidiary, HIPSTAR, in 2005 and to date we have ploughed nearly 2m into our HIPs proposition. You don’t do that without an extensive and thorough review of this emerging market.
We have 25 HIPs competitors, two of which come from a training background while the remainder, such as LMS, First Title/Live and SimplyHIP, come from a conveyancing background. HIPSTAR is the only HIPs provider that, strange as it may seem, comes from the mortgage market.
We are more than qualified to assess the business opportunities available to mortgage brokers and are in the process of publishing a comprehensive guide to HIPs. The sub-title is “5 ways in which mortgage brokers can make money out of HIPs”.
Those who want a copy of this can get in touch with us. For everyone else I suggest they stop burying their heads in the sand.