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Moving home now costs one third of median UK salary

  1. 04 February 2019
  2. By Andi Michael

Homeowners are having to dig deeper than before to fund a home move, with costs at their highest ever. However, there is some good news for first time buyers.

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Our annual Cost of Moving analysis, released today, shows that the total cost of moving home increased 6% between 2017 and 2018 for the average homeowner, to a record high of £9,812 - equal to one third of the median UK salary of £29,588.

At a time when the property market is slowing due to Brexit uncertainty, those deciding to move are facing the third consecutive year of price increases. This main costs are down to increased Stamp Duty and conveyancing costs, caused by a 3% rise in house prices in 2018. Across the UK, taking into account regional rates, Stamp Duty now makes up almost half (46%) of the total cost of a home move.

Existing homeowners pay an average of £4,500 in Stamp Duty, an annual increase of 11%.  Average conveyancing costs increased from £1,417 in 2017 to £1,497 in 2018. Otherwise, estate agent fees, Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and removals costs remain unchanged. Surveying costs have risen just 1% as providers compete to offer the best price they can in a flat market.

The good news for first time buyers 

Alternatively, first time buyers have seen the cost of buying their first home plummet by 29% in 2018, down to £1,809. This is due to the Stamp Duty exemption in England, where first time buyers pay no Stamp Duty on properties up to £300,000, and a reduced amount on properties worth £300,000-£500,000. The average first time buyer in 2017 paid £800 in Stamp Duty, but this has now fallen to zero.

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North/South divide in the cost of moving

The cost of moving in the capital has now reached £23,039 which is 2.3 times the UK average. Home movers in the South East, South West and East of England all cost more than the UK average, whilst the remaining regions are below average. These differences are due to the skew in house prices in different regions, impacting conveyancing fees and Stamp Duty payments. 

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Our take

Our CEO, Rob Houghton, had this to say about the results of the analysis:

“It’s never been more expensive for homeowners to move, despite the fact that most providers of home move services, such as estate agents, removals companies and surveyors have refrained from increasing prices over the last year as they fight for business from a smaller pool of movers.
 
“It’s a different story for first time buyers however, who have benefited from a significant fall in the upfront costs of buying their first home due to stamp duty changes. For those first time buyers with a medium to long term view, now could be a good time to buy with costs and mortgage rates low and plenty of sellers prepared to do deals.
 
“For anyone planning a home move, it’s always a good idea to shop around online for the best deals and compare by ratings and reviews left by past customers, as well as price.”

 
 

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