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Home reports boost buyer interest

More people are thinking about buying a home as a result of new seller reports, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland.

Eight out of the ten largest chartered surveyor firms said the introduction of home reports three months ago had boosted interest in the housing market.

Slow sales and a dip in prices were instead blamed on the credit crunch.

The Scottish Law Agents' Society (SLAS) said home reports had slowed sales and negatively affected the market.

The reports, which cost about £420 plus VAT, include a detailed survey covering the condition, the valuation and the energy efficiency of the house.

They are intended to cut the cost to buyers, who often had to commission several surveys before finally bidding successfully for a property.

" The big firms have now confirmed that the home report is not to blame for the slow housing market "
Graeme Hartley
RICS Scotland

SLAS has argued the scheme would be disastrous for a struggling housing market.

The latest study by the RICS Scotland suggested the reports were keeping interest in the housing market alive.

Eight out of the 10 firms questioned also thought the report had made no impact on the number of homes being put on the market.

RICS Scotland director Graeme Hartley said: "Chartered surveyors are property experts and the big firms have now confirmed that the home report is not to blame for the slow housing market."

However, Ian Ferguson, a senior partner with Glasgow firm Mitchells Roberton and SLAS spokesman, said while there may have been an increase in the number of inquiries about houses for sale, home reports may still have had a negative impact on sales.

He said: "All around Scotland there are many people who would normally put their property on the market on a speculative basis but are not willing to do so because of the charges involved.

"The property market was killed off in January and February - which we had predicted after home reports were introduced.

"There has been some resuscitation in the market but the number of sales is negligible. By no stretch of the imagination could that increase in interest be put down to home reports.

"The real figures show that there is an enormous drop in the number of houses going on the market in some areas down by 50% and even 70% from last year."

Companies questioned for the report included Graham and Sibbald, Hardies, DM Hall, Murray and Muir, J&E Shepherd, Allied Surveyors and Home Report Scotland.

RICS Scotland said its members carried out 13,999 home reports between 1 December 2008 to 22 February.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Print   2009-03-05