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HIPs U-turn could cost industry GBP225 million

Much of the GBP225 million spent on preparing for home information packs by firms within the housing industry will be wasted now that home condition reports will not be made compulsory, it has been estimated.

Property website Rightmove saw its shares drop by almost 20% in early trading as the group, which had planned to offer services linked to the packs, warned that revenues were now likely to be significantly lower.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders said that there will be a mixed reaction from lenders and other stakeholders to the announcement. CML head of policy Jackie Bennett said: For those that have invested heavily to deliver and use home condition reports from next June, the lack of compulsion will be a disappointment.

Consumer group Which?, previously a supporter of the packs, criticized the government’s decision to make the home condition report voluntary. Nick Stace, spokesman for the group, said: The home condition report was an essential part of the HIP. This half-baked compromise will result in something that is of little value to consumers and Which? cannot therefore continue to provide support.

The UK government has yet to put a figure on how much the revised packs will cost, although the energy performance certificates that are now a requirement as part of an EU directive are likely to cost around GBP250. The packs were originally estimated to cost house sellers GBP1,000 and are now estimated to cost in the region of GBP600.