A PropTech company is suggesting that property mis-measurements and resulting over-valuations may be the next PPI scandal.
The firm - Spec, which specialises in property measurement - may have a vested interest but it claims details are so inaccurate that properties have been mis-sold by an average £33,800.
And it says that a poll of over 2,000 people have shown overwhelmingly that property size, combined with the effect on price, are highly important factors in their decision whether to buy a property.
The survey goes on to say that 92 per cent of respondents believe estate agents should by law be obliged to provide accurate measures and some 45 per cent say they would expect compensation if the property they purchased did not measure up to the details on which they made their decision.
“It’s incredible that the biggest consumer scandal in this country has been routinely ignored by both government and regulators. Given the importance of property size, standardising the way homes are measured should be a key focus for both the industry and consumers alike” claims James D Marshall, chief executive of Spec.
He is sharply critical that the recommendations put forward at the start of the summer in the Regulation of Property Agents: Working Group report - regarding the training, licensing and regulation of estate and letting agents - did not include issues surrounding property mismeasurement.
“Consumers are being routinely misled across the industry. We know that measurements are undertaken by photographers with neither the necessary training nor the required equipment” he claims.
“These measurements are then included in property reports and promoted on property listing sites on a price per sq ft basis, despite admitting in their fine print that the figure indicated should not be used for valuation purposes.
“This means that customers are purchasing properties based on incorrect measurement data, which then impacts EPC ratings, stamp duty and ultimately the cost of purchasing, owning and running a home,” Marshall added.
Spec claims around one in eight properties in its study had an area discrepancy of at least 100 square feet; the average discrepancy across all properties was 54 square feet and in around 60 per cent of cases, floor plans over-stated the size of the properties. Spec's public survey of attitudes consisted of 2,110 adults questioned in July.