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EWS1 ‘bottleneck’ denting existing homes market too ‒ Benham and Reeves

  • 22/11/2022
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EWS1 ‘bottleneck’ denting existing homes market too ‒ Benham and Reeves
The “bottleneck” around the EWS1 forms required when selling new-build properties is starting to have an impact on the wider property market, an estate agent has claimed.

London-based agent Benham and Reeves noted that the fact mortgage providers won’t lend against certain properties without having the certification has long caused issues within the new-build sector, with developments unable to come to market before gaining the certification.

However, the firm said it was now having an impact on the existing homes market too. 

The agent pointed to the shortage of qualified examiners to carry out the checks, noting that this was now resulting in long delays and increased rates of agreed deals falling through.

Benham and Reeves noted that the number of fall throughs this year has increased by 3.6 per cent from 87,063 in the third quarter of 2021 to 90,188 in the same period of 2022, with the estate agent arguing that EWS1 delays will account for some of those.

It suggested that EWS1 delays and issues impact around nine per cent of flats on the market, which works out at around 5,000 flats a quarter of 60,000 a year.


‘Incorporate EWS1 into fire risk assessment’

Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, said that there will continue to be an issue until there are enough professionals trained to issue EWS1 certifications, and called for the inspection to be incorporated into the fire risk assessment.

This is required by law to be carried out for every high-rise building containing two or more sets of domestic premises.

Von Grundherr explained: “One solution is to incorporate [EWS1 inspections] into the existing fire risk assessment process and in doing so, we believe the substantial waiting times that buyers and sellers are enduring at the moment can be reduced by quite some margin.

“Of course, what we really need is a fit-for-purpose housing minister and one that is going to remain in the role on a long-term basis in order to address the many issues facing the sector today.” 

In September, a new professional indemnity scheme, backed by the government, was launched in order to tackle the shortage of insurers willing to offer the cover to inspectors.

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