At midnight, the Government launched yet another inquiry into the estate agency market.
The new inquiry’s focus is firmly on buyers rather than sellers, in the same way that last week’s “call for evidence” into the letting agency and leasehold markets is focused on tenants rather than owners.
This latest inquiry has come out of the blue and the timing – at midnight on a weekend – seems curious with website links not initially available. It comes after over 18 months after then Chancellor George Osborne announced in his March 2016 Budget that there would “shortly” be a call for evidence to look at the process of buying a home.
This weekend’s new inquiry is to do with home buying, which Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said should be cheaper, faster and less stressful.
The latest “call for evidence” specifically says that homes put on the market should be “sales ready”.
However, the official statement said that the new inquiry is “not about a return to Home Information Packs”.
The new call for evidence asks for responses from all those involved in home buying, including agents, solicitors and lenders.
DCLG is looking for evidence about gazumping; fall-throughs; providing HIPs-style pre-marketing information; and the speed of the home buying process.
It says that its new research claims:
- Of those that experienced delays, 69% of sellers and 62% of buyers reported stress and worry as a result of the delay
- 46% of sellers had concerns about a buyer changing their mind after making an offer
- 24% of sellers would use a different estate agent if they were to go through the process again
- 32% of sellers and 28% of buyers were dissatisfied with the other party’s solicitor
Javid said: “We want to help everyone have a good quality home they can afford, and improving the process of buying and selling is part of delivering that.
“Buying a home is one of life’s largest investments, so if it goes wrong it can be costly. That’s why we’re determined to take action to make the process cheaper, faster and less stressful.
“This can help save people money and time so they can focus on what matters – finding their dream home.
“I want to hear from the industry on what more we can do to tackle this issue.
“Today’s announcement will build on recent proposals to cut out abuses of leasehold, protections for renters and a crackdown on unfair managing agents – now we are looking at modernising the home buying process.
“The Housing White Paper set out plans to fix the broken housing market, getting the right homes built in the right places and measures to improve affordability and protections for renters and home purchasers.
“This exercise isn’t about adding extra work for buyers and sellers or seeing a return to Home Information Packs: this call for evidence will look at how we can further improve the home buying experience.”
The latest call for evidence will run for six weeks as from today (Sunday). The full announcement is due at 9am today (Sunday) where we are told there will be a link to the “call for evidence”.
The accompanying press release says: “We have also looked to other countries, such as Denmark and the USA where it’s perceived that home buying and selling works much more smoothly.”