New CAP guidance

Greenbelt welcomes CAP guidance

New advertising guidelines will help protect home buyers

Greenbelt welcomes the new guidance just published by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), which aims to help house builders advertise new build and off-plan properties without potentially misleading buyers.

In the current market, where buyers have many choices, developers need to ensure the customer journey and their expectations are managed effectively. These new guidelines will help to make certain their ultimate decision is the right one.

Greenbelt sees the guidance, which sits alongside the “Consumer Code for Home Builders” and “The Property Misdescriptions Act”, as a welcome addition and a brand new standard for the entire industry to work towards ­– including post-sale services.

Greenbelt Business Development Director Gareth Davies commented: “This new CAP guidance not only helps to prevent house builders falling foul of the Advertising Standards Authority, it puts the house buyer where they should be: first.

“The new housing market continues to see an uplift in activity: sales are now being taken off-plan, as the demand for new homes increases with the continued support of “Help to Buy” and developers secure a forward order book. Against this background, the Home Builders Federation and Homes for Scotland, both of which Greenbelt are Associate Members, have worked closely with CAP to produce this guidance – it outlines an agreed industry approach to clear and transparent marketing.”

In essence, the new CAP guidance means:

House marketers should not use an unqualified “from” price that is actually for a standard property alongside a photograph of a more expensive home.

House marketers can use images featuring upgrades, if there are no images available for the property advertised at the baseline price – for example, this might be because the property is sold off-plan. However, this price must be clearly prefixed with “from” and include qualifying text next to the image stating “image includes optional upgrades at additional cost”.

Where images feature upgrades, the cost of the upgrade should be made clear.

Qualifying text must be equally prominent to the price claim and adjacent to the image.

Mr Davies added: “With an increasing number of potential new home buyers using the internet and social media to search for their new home, often in order to create a shortlist, they need any advertising, promotions or photographs linked to pricing to be absolutely clear, precise and, above all, not misleading.

“As one of the leading UK property and and management companies, we look forward to helping to continually improve the customer experience.”

Mr Davies is available for interview and is happy to discuss the future impact of the new CAPS guidance on the housebuilding industry.