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Cost of Moving 2021

Cost of moving home in England rises by 71% to record high of £11,777 following end of stamp duty giveaway

  • Average cost of buying and selling a home in 2021 rose from £6,877 before 30th June to £11,777
  • Estate agent fees and legal fees fell after 30th June, but survey and removals costs continued to climb
  • First Time Buyers in England have seen little change in the cost of moving, currently at £2,083
  • Moving costs in London have almost doubled for those buying and selling – and tripled for FTB
  • SDLT holiday aside, increases in moving costs were prompted by rising house prices and high demand
The cost of moving home has risen sharply from £6,877 before the end of the main stamp duty holiday on 30th June 2021 to a record high of £11,777 – meaning the average person buying and selling a home in England is required to find an extra £4,900 in up-front costs, according to Reallymoving’s annual Cost of Moving research, released today.

The comparison site for home move services 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. The cost of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) remains unchanged at £55.

Table 1: Change in the cost of moving home in England in 2021 (Source: Reallymoving)
Existing Homeowner  (buying and selling) During main SDLT holiday
(up to 30/06/21)
After main SDLT holiday
(01/07/21 to date)
% Change      First Time Buyer During main SDLT holiday
(up to 30/06/21)
After main SDLT holiday (01/07/21 to date) % Change
Stamp Duty £0 £5,000  -   Stamp Duty £0 £0 0%
Estate Agent fees £4,021 £3,965 -1%   Estate Agent fees £0 £0 0%
Legal Fees £1,716 £1,650 -4%   Legal Fees £1,299 £1,260 -3%
Survey £500 £507 +1%   Survey £426 £450 +6%
Removals £585 £600 +3%   Removals £372 £372 0%
EPC £55 £55 0%   EPC £0 £0 0%
Total £6,877 £11,777 +71%   Total £2,097 £2,082 -1%

Table 2: Change in median property price (Source: Reallymoving)
Existing Homeowner (buying and selling) During main SDLT holiday
 
After main SDLT holiday
 
% Change   First Time Buyer During main SDLT holiday
 
After main SDLT holiday % Change
Purchase £349,500 £350,000 0%   Purchase £222,000 £210,000 -5%
Sale £284,000 £280,000 -1%          
 

Movers in London, South East and South West face significant hikes

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 (those buying and selling) have seen the cost of moving almost double (+94%) 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.

Homeowners in Wales need to dig deep with price rises of 96%

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 46%, 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.

Moving costs for First Time Buyers remain relatively stable

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.

Commentary

CEO 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.”