"We saw an increase in conveyancing and removals costs in England during the stamp duty holiday due to exceptional levels of demand"
The comparison site has analysed data from 320,000 quotes in the last year to reveal that while estate agent fees and conveyancing fees have fallen since 30th June, the return of stamp duty for properties worth over £250,000, along with rising survey and removal costs mean it’s more expensive than ever to move home. This is in part due to rising house prices, which impact associated costs, as well as higher demand for services.
The largest expense for home movers who are both buying and selling, is once again stamp duty, which has risen from £0 based on the average purchase price in England of £349,500, to £5,000. Estate agent fees are the next highest cost at £3,965 (-1%), followed by legal fees at £1,650 (-4%), although both have dipped slightly since the end of the tax holiday. Other costs have continued to climb, however, with the price of a survey rising to £507 (+1.4%) and removals rising to £600 (+2.6%) on average.
Those moving in the most expensive regions, such as London and the South East, East of England the South West, benefited most from the stamp duty giveaway and have faced some of the biggest rise in prices since the most generous part of the holiday ended. In London, existing homeowners have seen the cost of moving almost double from £12,917 to £25,096 since the end of June, while first-time buyers in the capital have been even harder hit and now need to find £7,195 compared to £2,435 during the stamp duty holiday – an increase of 195%.
By comparison, less expensive regions in the north still escape paying stamp duty or pay a minimal amount based on the median purchase price, resulting in only moderate increases in the cost of moving, while existing homeowners in the North East have actually seen the cost of moving fall from £4,778 to £4,500 due to a dip in estate agency and conveyancing fees.
Those buying and selling a home in Wales have seen costs leap by 96% since the 30th June from £5,833 to £11,438, with sharp rises in estate agency fees (+26%) and removals (+25%) on top of Land Transaction Tax bills of £4,700 based on the median property price. Homeowners in Scotland have also felt the pain of rising moving costs, but the rate of increase is around half that in Wales, at 47%, driven by the return of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBBT) on top of a 6% rise in estate agency fees and a 3% rise in legal fees – both linked to an increase in house prices.
While London’s first-time buyers have seen the biggest hikes of all, those across the rest of the UK have seen relative stability in the cost of moving, being once again the only group to benefit from paying no stamp duty on purchases up to £300,000. The average cost of moving for a first-time buyer in England dipped by 1% after 30th June due to a fall in conveyancing costs as demand fell, reducing pressure on the sector. First-time buyers in the East and West Midlands and the East of England have seen the cost of moving fall further, by 2%, 3% and 2% respectively, as the market returns to more normal levels of activity. First-time buyers in Wales have seen the cost of moving stay the same at £1,908 while in Scotland costs have increased by 7% - largely due to a rise in average removals prices from £300 to £365.
CEO of Reallymoving, Rob Houghton, said: “The cost of moving home is at a record high and movers have had to absorb a huge hike in up-front costs since the main stamp duty holiday ended on 30th June. These rises have been felt most in London, with movers in the capital having to find over £25,000 – and over £7,000 for first-time buyers, which is a significant challenge on top of raising a deposit.
“We saw an increase in conveyancing and removals costs in England during the stamp duty holiday due to exceptional levels of demand, but conveyancing costs have dropped slightly since the end of June as pressure on the system has eased.
“First-time buyers will be relieved to be once again the only group to benefit from stamp duty exemptions on lower cost homes, reducing competition from other buyers. The cost of moving for first-time buyers in England is high, at over £2,000, but the good news is that expenses have remained relatively stable, making it easier to plan a move.
“The property market remains buoyant with strong competition for homes, so it’s more important than ever to compare ratings and customer reviews when searching for home move services, as well as price, to ensure that when you do decide to buy, your transaction progresses as smoothly as possible.”