Research shows brokers support HIPS U-turn

Brokers are concerned over the timing and content of the HIPs launch next year, research by UCB ome Loans shows.

The results reveal a strong lack of support for the scheme in its proposed format, providing increased backing for the governments decision to back down on including home condition reports within the new HIPs packs.

The research reveals that the majority of brokers thought that the scheme should be dropped.

While 71% of brokers thought that the plan to introduce HIPs next summer should be dropped,a nd 70% had not made any preparations for the introduction of HIPs, while only 4% thought that the proposed launch timing of June 2007 was good.

Most brokers did not think there would be enough home inspectors trained to make the scheme work, and there was some confusion over whether they would have the same level of accountability to the purchaser that a surveyor would normally have.

The majority did not think the scheme would benefit house sellers and believed that purchasers would get their own survey done in any case.

91% did not think the target of 7,400 Home Inspectors by June 2007 would be met, while 30% believed the Home Inspector would be responsible to the purchaser, whilst 70% thought he would not. 74% thought a purchaser would go ahead and commission their own survey in any case, while 77% thought there is likely to be a spike in house sales prior to the launch.

The research results also revealed a strong belief that HIP providers and the treasury would be the biggest benefactors from the launch of HIPs, whilst brokers would generally be at a competitive disadvantage. Some 72% believed intermediaries would be at a competitive disadvantage after HIPs are launched. The biggest beneficiaries were expected to be: HIP providers (31%); Treasury (24%); Estate Agents (19%) and house buyers (16%). Those expected to benefit the least were: House sellers (5%); Intermediaries (2%)

Keith Astill, managing director at UCB Home Loans, says: The research reveals that brokers still have major misgivings about the introduction of HIPs and I believe they will be relieved at the Governments decision to dilute the content of the reports.

It also appears that the full details of the HIPs scheme have not yet been effectively communicated to intermediaries, resulting in a degree of confusion over the responsibilities off the Home Inspectors to both the buyer and seller.”

Astill adds: In many respects, the u-turn on HIPs bears striking similarities to the reversal of the decision to allow residential property to be included within Self-Invested Personal Pensions, which was announced a few months ago.