The Property Ombudsman recently launched the Code of Practice for the newly-formed National Association of Property Buyers.
The NAPB has been created in response to recommendations from an Office of Fair Trading study that found a need for self-regulation of the quick house sale firms. The OFT report found that some practices in the sector, which purchases properties from homeowners who need a fast, hassle-free sale, were leading to some customers being treated unfairly. Whilst this is broadly seen as a step in the right direction, the new NAPB has been criticised for lacking a robust solution to the sector’s problems.
One of the founding members of the NAPB, Danny Luke, director of Quick Move Now comments:
“This is a positive move in the right direction, but it isn’t a gold standard. There are still practices against which the NAPB doesn’t guard, such as allowing brokers to misrepresent themselves as buyers. So this body lacks any teeth – it can’t properly vet members and it can’t sanction those who abuse their position. Quick Move Now thinks people who use our services deserve the highest possible standards or service and transparency, because often they’re in a vulnerable position. Therefore the NAPB is only one small step in the process of cleaning up this sector.”
David Newnes, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains owned by LSL Property Services PLC, commented:
“Although building on the momentum from the start to the year, the mortgage market is clearly undergoing a period of adjustment. But it would be premature to assess the full impact until the dust settles from the regulatory shakeup. In the meantime mortgage lending is continuing its firm recovery, particularly at the lower end of the market – traditionally the realms of first time buyers. In April we saw 48% more high LTV loans than a year ago.
“The Mortgage Market Review only recently implemented more stringent borrowing conditions, alongside tighter stress-tests and affordability checks from lenders. And now we are also seeing banks such as Lloyds place their own limitations to regulate home loans. But there is no reason for this to dent the confidence emanating through the property market.
“Demand is set remain strong and house building needs to increase substantially to ensure that the stream of new homes doesn’t dry up. Supply is starting to trickle back to life, but we need a faster flow of available housing stock to keep growth in motion and price rises in check. Recent reports show a 4.7% annual price rise outside London which is sustainable growth and this needs to be carefully maintained.”