Anyone selling a residential property after December 14 will need to purchase a home information pack, the government said yesterday, amid warnings that they threaten first time buyers. Financial Times, Daily Telegraph

Yvette Cooper, housing minister, told parliament that early monitoring of the scheme showed the staggered roll-out of sellers’ packs had gone smoothly.

A survey of estate agents found that most want Hips to be abolished, saying they have disrupted business. Estate agents also reported ignorance of the scheme among the public.

The introduction of Hips on one- and two-bedroom properties has led to fears that people will be put off selling their homes at a time when the market is slowing.

This will make it even harder for first-time buyers, already more stretched than at any other stage in the past 16 years, to get on the property ladder.

An estimated 1·5 million properties are marketed every year, with about 300,000 of those being advertised speculatively by home owners testing the water.

However, about half of those homes put on speculatively end up being sold after the owner receives an offer they cannot refuse.

The RICS predicted that, with these properties disappearing from the market in one fell swoop, activity will 'grind to a halt' with buyers left chasing a very small number of properties.