First time homebuyers will see their upfront costs drop and all home buyers will, for the first time, receive A-G green ratings for their properties which will help cut fuel bills and carbon emissions, with the roll out of Home Information Packs (HIPs) and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) announced 22nd November 2007.
Buyers whose homes score poor energy ratings of F or G (currently around one-fifth of all homes) will receive an offer of a discount or free help with energy efficiency measures from the Green Homes Service which will be established, helping to save hundreds of pounds off fuel bills, as announced by the Prime Minister this week.
Sixty per cent of the market is already covered by HIPs. The Government has announced the rollout of HIPs and EPCs to the rest of the market from 14 December this year, as the criteria set out for roll out on 11 June have now been met.
House hunters will get detailed information about the energy efficiency of their home with a green rating of A-G, similar to consumer friendly fridge ratings, in an EPC. The final stage of the roll out follows careful analysis of how HIPs and EPCs have been working in order to maintain their smooth introduction into the housing market. The extension of HIPs to all properties will particularly benefit first time buyers through a reduction in their upfront costs by not having to pay for a pack, helping them in getting a foot on the housing ladder.
The packs are already beginning to bring benefits to consumers with average property search costs starting to fall with the new competition from HIPs - 85 local authorities have already reduced their charges by £30 on average.
Housing Minister Yvette Cooper said:"HIPs and EPCs are already helping consumers to save hundreds of pounds off their fuel bills and are cutting search costs too. All home buyers will be able to benefit from energy efficiency advice, with those receiving low green ratings of 'F' and 'G' especially targeted for support and grants to make improvements to cut their costs and carbon emissions."
Early monitoring of the scheme shows the roll out has gone smoothly. HIPs are taking on average 7 to 10 days to prepare, the majority of property, and drainage and water searches, are being delivered promptly within 5 days and EPCs are being prepared on average within 2 to 4 days. The average cost of a pack is £300 to £350 - costs which apart from the new information included in the EPC are already part of the home buying and selling process.