Proposed OFT housing market study welcomed

Date:Tuesday 9th December 2008
Author: Susanna Kavka

Plans by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate the housing market have been welcomed by industry bodies.

The study of home buying and selling may take into its remit issues as relationships between industry sectors such as mortgage brokers, estate agents and surveyors.

It is proposed to examine competition on price and quality and how well current regulations cover consumers.

The outlook for new entrants to the market, especially online property sellers, is also set to be studied.

Prior to starting the study, the OFT is seeking the opinions of relevant bodies.

According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, it is "the sort of approach we have been calling for".

It repeated its criticism of Home Information Packs (Hips), which it said were not helpful to consumers, hoping a beneficial version would be in place by April.

According to consumer group Which?, which also criticised Hips, the study "could be great news for consumers and an important step towards reforming a market that we've had serious concerns about for years".