The Tories took advantage of the situation to suggest the market slowdown was due to the introduction of HIPs. In a Commons debate on 9 June 2009, Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, commented:
“The new Minister might want to pick up some of the tips… and scrapping HIPs should be at the top of the list. They are a pointless, bureaucratic waste of time, and they are causing so much heartache. They are limiting the supply of new housing on the market, and making it much harder for first-time buyers to purchase properties.”
However, latest statistics from AHIPP show no correlation between the number of new properties coming on to the housing market and the roll out of HIPs The number of new properties for sale started falling in April 2007, long before HIPs became law, and was 25% down by July.
Directly after HIPs become mandatory for all properties in December 2007, new properties coming on to the market more than doubled (Dec 07 – Feb 08) following the traditional Christmas slowdown. They then declined steadily over the course of 2008 as the recession took hold. The figures are now showing a pick up in the market – something that, according to the Tories, cannot happen while we have HIPs.
Mike Ockenden, director general of AHIPP, comments: “The Conservatives have always made HIPs the whipping boy for the decline of the market. Anyone with an ounce of sense would have known that it was the collapse of the banks and the following recession which forced the market to stagnate.
“I challenge Mr Shapps, particularly now that there is a start to the recovery of stock levels, to explain this? The data clearly shows that there is no correlation between the drop-off in new properties coming on to the market and the full roll out of HIPs. In fact, the level of new instructions spiked for two months directly after the roll out, showing that other market forces and seasonal patterns were the influencing factors.
“HIPs only cost around £250 to £300 – not the £700 plus figure bandied about at the time of implementation. They have sped-up the time from offer to completion and reduced fall-throughs from 25% to as low as 9%. It is ludicrous to attribute seller behaviour to these packs.”
An Ipsos MORI poll commissioned by AHIPP indicated that 85% of people had not been deterred from selling as a result of the implementation of HIPs.
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