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All you need to know about HIPS...

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The effect of Hips on the property market

What effect has the introduction of home information packs (Hips) had on the housing market, and will their impact grow or diminish in the coming months? Few issues have caused as much wailing and gnashing of teeth as Hips. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) fought hard against them, seeking a judicial review ahead of their introduction because of a lack of proper consultation. Many of the surveyors contributing to the gloomiest Rics house-price survey since 1992, published last week, put some of the blame on Hips. The National Association of Estate Agents remains opposed, even though Hips have been required since December 14 for the sale of all properties.

The Commons select committee for communities and local government, in its recent withering verdict on the introduction of Hips, described it as “another failure of deliveryâ€? from the government due to “poor preparationâ€? and “a retreatâ€? by the relevant ministerial team. It thinks Yvette Cooper, the housing minister, should have ignored the critics and included the all-important home-condition reports in the packs, as well as sticking to the original plan to introduce them for all properties last June. Had she done so, HIPS would have been in place ahead of the credit crisis-induced downturn in the market.