Surge in Norwich homes for sale

Jon WelchThe abolition of home information packs (HIPs) last month has prompted a huge surge in the number of homes coming on to the market in Norwich, according to industry figures.Jon Welch

The abolition of home information packs (HIPs) last month has prompted a huge surge in the number of homes coming on to the market in Norwich, according to industry figures.

The packs, often costing hundreds of pounds, were compulsory for any vendor putting their property up for sale. They were introduced by the last government, but were largely unpopular with sellers and property professionals alike.

They were scrapped by communities secretary Eric Pickles, who said he was acting to avoid uncertainty and prevent a slump in the housing market.

According to Agency Express, a company that puts up and takes down 'for sale' signs on behalf of estate agents, the number of new listings in Norwich rose by 24.1 per cent from the four weeks prior to May 22, when HIPs were suspended, to the four weeks after.

In East Anglia, new listings rose by 16.2pc, and across the UK they were up by 20.8pc.

Stephen Watson, managing director of Agency Express, which is based at East Carleton, near Wymondham, said: 'The property activity index data confirms what we all suspected; that HIPs were an unnecessary and inhibitive addition to the house sales process.

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'Its removal has immediately injected a welcome surge in properties coming to market that will provide more choice for prospective buyers, help to stabilise prices and reduce the costs of selling your home.

'We will be monitoring the strength of this apparent recovery in the supply of properties for sale over the coming weeks.'

Ian Harris, Norwich branch secretary of the National Association of Estate Agents, agreed that the abolition of HIPs had led more people to put their homes up for sale.

But he said it was difficult to measure the exact impact it had had. 'Both the Tories and Lib Dems had scrapping HIPs in their manifestos, so people thinking of selling may have been holding back until after the election,' he said.

'A lot of people may also have been waiting for a less uncertain political climate and delaying until after the budget.'

He said sellers who might have liked to move, but were in no hurry to do so, had been especially deterred by HIPs fees.

'Those people have responded to HIPs being scrapped and it means that for every extra seller on the market there is now an extra buyer.

'I would estimate that there is another 10 per cent of property on the market - possibly more than that. We've certainly seen a bigger influx of property coming onto the market than we would expect at this time of year.

'The abolition of HIPs has certainly been a catalyst but there may be other reasons as well.'

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