Cost of moving home now at highest level with biggest expense estate agent fees

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The cost of moving house in the UK has never been more expensive at an average of £7,381 even when adjusted for inflation, the highest it’s been since 2010, new research shows.

The study from Really Moving shows 44% of the total cost of moving is made up of estate agent fees, representing on average, £3,254 of the £7,356 total moving cost, a rise of 4% since 2007.

With the average estate agent charging 1.2% of the house price, rates as a percentage of the price are at an all-time low but while estate agent rates might be falling, the 28% increase in average house prices means that estate agent fees remain similar in absolute terms.

This rise in house prices has also affected stamp duty, the second largest contributor to moving costs at 27%. In 2017, the median property value would result in a stamp duty fee of £2,019 compared to £1,814 for the median property value in 2007, a rise of 11%.

Due to the economic crisis in 2009, the basic stamp duty threshold was increased to £175,000, higher than the median UK house price that year. This meant that for over half the property transactions during 2009, no stamp duty was paid, significantly reducing the average cost of moving.

With the recent increase in property prices, stamp duty fees have risen significantly. While the Chancellor did go some way to rectify the problem for first time buyers, cutting the lower thresholds of stamp duty in the recent Budget, this will affect a relatively small portion of the market, the report says.

A breakdown of the figures also show that conveyancing fees have increased for both sellers and buyers while the cost of a home buyer report is up 15% to £399 but the EPC cost is down 53% from £116 in 2007 to £55 today.

The average cost of moving the contents of a house has increased only slightly by 2% from £470 in 2007 to £480. However, this cost can vary enormously depending on the distances involved and the value of the contents being transported.

‘Increases in fees for services and, in particular, for stamp duty has seen total cost of moving rise to the point where a single move costs nearly a third of the median annual salary,’ said Rob Houghton, the firm’s chief executive officer.

He pointed out that movers can take steps to try to reduce the cost of moving, including shopping around, using well-priced and well-reviewed conveyancers, surveyors, removers, and estate agents.

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Written by: Houseladder