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Property professionals warn that new HIP rules will slow market further

The controversial packs are stopping people from putting their property up for sale, a survey of property professionals has revealed.

From tomorrow the packs must be ready before a property can be put on the market but most of the industry believes they are a waste of time and money. Some 89% of property professionals believe the rule changes are not beneficial to buyers, according to a survey by the National Association of Estate Agents.

And 65% believe that the new arrangements will actually discourage sellers from putting their properties up for sale helping an already slumping property market to slow down further.

The estate agent figures are mirrored by the Government's own statistics, which show that 77% of house buyers paid no attention to HIPs when they decided whether or not to buy a property.

The NAEA wants the packs to be scrapped during the downturn and their viability examined before they are considered again. 'It is extremely worrying that the Government is pushing ahead with an ill judged and unpopular scheme that, in the opinion of UK property professionals, will actually slow the market down,' said chief executive Peter Bolton King.

'It reflects a stubbornness on the part of the Government and a reluctance to admit that HIPs in the main are pointless and expensive and according to their own figures, ignored by the very people they claim benefit from them,' he added.

Property lawyers are also concerned about the impact of the packs. One firm has called for them to be scrapped for owners facing repossession who are under pressure to sell quickly.

According to Simon Seaton, director of Fridays Property Lawyers, sellers are telling estate agents and conveyancing lawyers that despite the pack being a legal requirement they cannot afford to pay for it.

'Most sellers facing repossession are not able to afford the outlay for the HIP but, on the other hand, they need to market their property as quickly as possible to stave off repossession in order to protect any remaining equity. The impact of the removal of first day marketing from the 6th April is yet another body blow for homeowners facing repossession,' he said.