UK Moving Costs Surge During 2016

The cost of moving house in the UK has risen to an average of £11,000 in 2016 from a year ago, recent research from Lloyds Banking Group shows. For Londoners, the increase was even steeper with the average moving cost growing to a hefty £31,400.

Data from Lloyds Banking Group show an UK average increase in the cost of moving house of 9% from £10,126 in 2015 and an 18% rise for Londoners from £26,684. While both those rises are broadly in line with house prices over the same period, they are above consumer price inflation and earnings growth.

This means the cost of moving has also risen as a proportion of earnings – to an average of 32% in 2016 from 30% in the previous year. For home-owners in the capital city, however, the cost of moving jumps to 72% of average earnings for the region.

"The cost of stepping up the housing ladder has continued to rise sharply over the past year,” said Lloyds Bank Mortgage Director Mike Songer. “As a result, the cost of completing a home move in the UK has grown significantly over the past decade.”

The cost of moving home is closely linked to house prices – many fees are calculated as a percentage of the sale price – which explains the sharp rise in moving costs. Indeed, when compared with 2006, the National average cost of moving home has risen 25%. For Londoners, meanwhile, costs have surged 68% since 2006.

The breakdown of which elements of moving have risen most show stamp duty, estate agency and conveyancing fees topping the list. The cost of surveyors, home removals and Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), meanwhile, are unchanged in 2016 from a year earlier.

While the plight of first-time buyers trying to enter the UK’s housing market is well documented, these data highlight just how expensive it is for existing home-owners to take a step up the ladder, or move to a different part of the country.

Not only are house prices continuing to move further out of reach for everyday, hard-working Britons, the cost of buying a home that better suits a person or family’s changing requirements is in danger of doing the same.

These are all elements that are contributing to the UK’s growing housing crisis and adding to pressure on Theresa May’s Government to introduce a new policy or policies to encourage a significant step-up in home building in the places where it is most needed.

A separate survey from the Federation of Master Builders underscores the problems for Small and Medium Sized UK based builders. In its annual House Builders survey, two-thirds of the FMB’s members say a ‘lack of available and viable land’ remains the largest barrier to building a larger number of homes.

The UK’s planning system also continues to come under fire; 50% of respondents said the planning system posed a serious challenge to increasing their output, with members pinpointing under-resourcing of local planning departments as the main reason behind planning process delays.

“The biggest challenge facing SME house builders is the planning process,” said the FMB chief executive Brian Berry.

It appears expectations of what the Government needs to deliver in its fresh housing stimulus plan in the November Autumn statement are growing. 

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