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Call to scrap information packs

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In a bid to support the struggling housing market, estate agents have called on the Government to urgently review its controversial Home Information Packs (Hips) requirement.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) said the packs, introduced last year, were not fit for purpose and were the wrong answer to simplifying the house buying process.

According to the group, the need for the packs to include local searches was "madness" as the majority of searches were out of date by the time a transaction took place due to the length of time property is currently taking to sell.

As a result it said these searches had to be carried out again at an extra cost.

Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA, said: "With the economic situation worsening and the property market still suffering, we are calling on the Government to take urgent action on Hips.

"We have long seen Hips as not fit for purpose and as the wrong answer to simplifying the house buying process.

"Quite simply, the Government tried to force 'square pegs into round holes' and the slower property market is making this situation worse."

Hips were introduced in a bid to speed up the home buying process by providing more of the information that buyers needed up front and allowing them to plan their expenditure for items such as household insurance, repairs and modernisation work.

© The Press Association 2008