The cost of moving home in the South West has plummeted by 40 per cent from £11,048 before the stamp duty holiday came into effect on July 8 to £6,640 after - saving the average person buying and selling a home in the region £4,408, according to research published this week.
Reallymoving, the UK’s leading comparison site for home mover services, has analysed data from 239,000 quotes in the last year to reveal that while legal fees, estate agent fees, survey and removal costs have all risen, now is the cheapest time to move home in decades as a direct result of the temporary suspension of stamp duty charges on purchases up to the value of £500,000.
With house prices having a significant impact on moving costs such as legal fees, a sharp rise in the average house price since the stamp duty holiday announcement has contributed to a rise in the cost of some other services.
The largest expense for home movers in the South West who are both buying and selling is currently estate agent fees, averaging £3,894 (+10% increase), followed by legal fees at £1,652 (+14%), removals charges at £599 (+3%) and a survey at £440 (+4%). The cost of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) remains unchanged at £55.
Out of all the regions in the UK, those moving within the South East are currently enjoying the largest financial incentive to ensure they move before the stamp duty holiday ends on March 31 next year, saving 53%, closely followed by Londoners saving 52%, the East of England (47%) and South West (40%).
The smallest savings are being made by movers in the North East (17%), Northern Ireland (20%) and Wales (22%) where transaction taxes were already lower based on the median house price.
While those buying and selling a home have seen costs plummet, first time buyers in the South West have seen the cost of buying their first home rise by seven per cent on average from £1,775 to £1,895.
Less impacted by the stamp duty holiday since first time buyers were already exempt from paying the tax on purchases up to £300,000, this group have instead been impacted by an increase in associated moving costs such as legal fees (+9%) and removals (+8%), partly due to a sharp increase in property prices across the region.
Since the stamp duty holiday came into effect, home movers both buying and selling in the South West are spending less than a quarter of their average annual income (23%) on financing a move compared with 39% previously, based on the median salary of £28,6721.
With cash to cover up-front costs being one of the biggest barriers to moving home, this increase in affordability has been a significant incentive for people to move quickly, creating a spike in demand from buyers and boosting liquidity.
Consequently, reallymoving is currently seeing unprecedented levels of demand across the region.
CEO Rob Houghton said: “The cost of moving has been steadily climbing for many years but the Chancellor’s stamp duty giveaway has cut up-front costs dramatically for those buying and selling a property in the South West.
“While it’s best to act quickly to take advantage of the stamp duty savings, buyers should also bear in mind that we’re probably seeing a temporary spike in house prices so for some it may be better to wait until the holiday ends when prices are widely expected to return to more normal levels.
“There’s no let up for first time buyers however, who are facing increased house prices and greater moving costs than a few months ago, making it even harder to save enough for a deposit and to cover the up-front costs of buying a home.
“In an unpredictable market 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.”