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Home information packs (HIPs) are deterring homeowners from putting their property up for sale, stunting market recovery, estate agents believe.

A survey of members by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) revealed that one in ten agents believed that the number of people selling would DOUBLE if HIPs were taken off the market.

A fifth of all agents believed that the number of sellers would increase by 20 – 25 per cent. And a staggering 91 per cent of agents were adamant that customers paid little or no attention to the controversial packs anyway. In April, the average estate agent had 67 properties available to sell, compared with 84 in April 2008 and 100 in December.

Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “The housing market has seen a number of positive signs in 2009, particularly an increased demand for property and more sales being completed.

“However this will be unsustainable without a steady supply of housing. HIPs are controversial and in the NAEA’s opinion, relatively useless. That is bad enough, but these figures suggest that professional agents believe that they are actively harming the market.

“The figures are significant because of fears that housing market recovery is being stunted because increased demand for property among buyers is not being matched by a supply of houses for sale.

“The Government should look at scrapping these packs, at the very least until the market has recovered. At that stage they should be reviewed. The NAEA would be happy to offer its professional opinion as to the best way forward.”

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