22 May 2007

Government Legislates Against Four Bedroom Houses


So it has been announced that HIP-lite is to be ushered in to cover just 20%* of the residential housing market. With Home Information Packs (HIPs) as with supercasinos, the government unleashed a massive white elephant only to scale back at the very last minute in the face of reasonable and almost unanimous opposition. Not really the way to go, but we should be used to it. I'm sure there are plenty of disgruntled energy assessors and May house sellers today.

HIPs are a terrible idea, but I suppose having a pilot scheme applying to the rich isn't a disastrous outcome. Commentators who had predicted that the introduction of HIPs could precipitate a collapse in house prices were probably wrong. In fact, they may well be a factor in keeping the current residential property bubble going as the most direct effect of their introduction will be a fall in the number of high-end properties brought to market. The housing market is already woefully clunky. HIPs will do little more than add an additional bottleneck.

Of course, as Labour have known all along (and this is an indictment of the British electorate), the government left holding the baby when property prices do collapse will pay a big price at the ballot box. Note that Labour policies of mass immigration, increased planning regulation, shared equity and key worker schemes have only served to delay and intensify the inevitable day of reckoning.

Phased in land value tax to replace the existing muddle of property taxes is the only sensible market solution to the housing crisis. For the record, if Yvette Cooper is the kind of dogmatic, hectoring screwball who will be promoted under Brown, you should be very concerned, if you aren't already...

In preparing this post, it's dawning on me that HIPs aren't going to happen at all. If you're a trained energy assessor, I'd advise you to find something else to do.

* This estimate would no doubt include my parents' home, but their "fourth" bedroom is an office. I'd imagine that, in practice, HIPs will apply to less than 10% of the housing market.

9 comments:

Ed said...

A classic NL balls-up. I actually think that some of the elements of the HIP are a good idea - like getting the vendor to do a survey and search. Energy assessment - not sure what ever happened to caveat emptor?

As for Yvette Cooper - well she seems to have picked the right person to marry to further her career. She'd be gutted if Miliblogger had got in!

Hamer Shawcross said...

Yeah, IDS made the same point in the debate yesterday about the "fourth" bedroom being re-designated as an office.

Man in a shed said...

The 4th bedroom = office ploy was apparently the first thing to occur to the estate agents also.

Its also worth noting that the fine for selling a house without a HIP is GBP200, the cost the govt tells us is about GBP300, and everyone else thinks could be in the GBP600-1200 range.

Go figure.

Praguetory said...

Apparently the fine for having a house on the market without a HIP is £200 per day, but I guess you could make arrangements so that you only had the house on the market for one day and it will be interesting to see how HIPs are enforced.

Mark Wadsworth said...

What is a crying shame is that it was a totally unelected Court, acting on behalf of other vested interests who threw the spanner in works. A hollow victory indeed.

Surely far better for HIPs to actually go ahead and to fail miserably (for lack of energy assessors, if nothing else) just so that there is no arguing later over whether they would actually "work" or not (as defined).

mutleythedog said...

...I have abandoned my course as an energy assessor which had cost me £1,200 - I hope you are all happy in your energy inefficient homes...

james higham said...

I was going to ask what you'd need a four bedroom home for and then read about the office. But of course.

Praguetory said...

A bit churlish of you Mr Mutley. By the way, how did you get on such a cheap course. Not cutting corners again, were you?

Tuscan Tony said...

"In preparing this post, it's dawning on me that HIPs aren't going to happen at all"

Very prescient of you and hope Betfair had made a market and you had a few quid on. Moral of this whole sorry episode is that if you want something dfouled up good 'n proper, get the State to do it.