New research has revealed that UK homeowners spent an eye-watering £9.7bn on moving house in 2017, with the average UK homeowner facing £9,580 in additional moving costs.
Removal company comparison website, Compare My Move, revealed the figure by feeding the latest official UK housing data through a newly released Cost of Moving House Calculator. Compare My Move developed the tool to help prospective home owners uncover hidden costs involved with purchasing their dream house.
The figure takes into account a range of extra costs accrued when buying and selling a house, including conveyancing, surveying and estate agent fees, stamp duty, removal costs and fixed fees such as an Energy Performance Certificate.
Key findings at a glance:
- UK homeowners collectively spent £9.7 billion (£9,746,745,840) on moving house in 2017.
- The average UK homeowner spent £9,580 on extra costs when moving in 2017.
- London is revealed as the most expensive region to move house in 2017, costing existing homeowners an eyewatering £28,714 in extra costs.
- First time buyers also suffer in the capital city, bearing the brunt of £7,765 in extra costs.
- The North East stands as the cheapest region to move house, costing home owners £5,058 on average.
- Even with the recent news on the cutting of Stamp Duty below £300,000, first time buyers in the UK still have to fork out an extra £1,561 when moving to their first house.
- The research finds that first time buyers in North East and Scotland haven't seen any benefit from the new Stamp Duty threshold.
Not All Moves are Made Equal
Of course, not all moves are made equal, and the costs of moving house varied region-by-region in 2017. The average cost of buying and selling a property in London tops the regions, costing existing homeowners a massive £28,714 in extra costs in 2017. As a comparison, the average homeowner in England spent £10,465 to move house last year.
The average moving costs in Scotland and Wales were less, but still daunting at an extra £6,032 and £6,246 respectively. The cheapest area to move house in 2017 was North East England, with house owners spending an extra £5,058 to move house.
Stamp Duty: First Time Buyers Win and Lose
With the recent slashing of Stamp Duty for first time buyers, the extra costs for moving into a first house has generally been levelled across the UK. The exception is London, where the average cost of a first house is higher than the £300,000 Stamp Duty threshold, meaning a substantial £7,765 bill for movers in 2017.
With the Stamp Duty changes, many first time buyers were in a better position at the end of 2017 than the start of last year. But even after including the changes, UK first time buyers had to pay on average £1,761 in extra costs to move in 2017. The cheapest region for first time buyers in 2017 was Scotland, with the cost of moving at £1,331 in 2017.
The biggest winners for the new Stamp Duty threshold were expensive regions such as South East England, where the extra costs of moving for first time buyers was slashed by 64% to £1,606 on account of the change.
Scotland and North East England however saw no changes to the cost of moving house on account of the Stamp Duty changes, because of the low prices of houses for first time buyers in the area (moving costs remained at £1,331 and £1,531 respectively). In contrast, the North West saw a £1,636 reduction in costs because of Stamp Duty changes, bringing the moving costs level with the North East at £1,531.
A spokesperson for Compare My Move said: “When it comes to buying or selling a house, the last thing you need are unexpected extra costs. Clarity on costs is key, and knowing exactly how much you need to save can help keep your dream house from becoming a nightmare.
We designed and released a free Cost of Moving House Calculator for this very reason: to ensure prospective homeowners are fully informed every step of the way.
It can be particularly daunting for first time buyers, with many saving for years to get their first foot on the property ladder. For them especially, thousands of pounds in unexpected extra costs can be incredibly stressful. And as our figures show, recent Stamp Duty changes haven't helped first time buyers across every region, meaning it's as important as ever to be fully aware of extra costs.
There are many ways to reduce costs, including performing conveyancing yourself, and using price comparison websites to compare and save on removal and surveying costs. But most of all it's best to get informed by using tools such as our calculator.
So get researching, get saving, get planning, and get comparing.”