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Average cost of moving house now more than £12,000: how to cut your costs

Stamp duty and estate agent fees the biggest bills

Between packing boxes and shifting furniture, moving home can be back-breaking work, and new research suggests your bank balance may also feel the strain.

The average cost of moving home is now £12,110, up by £486 on last year, research by Lloyds Bank has found. But depending on where you live in the UK, your bills could be half that – or three times as much.

Which? looks at how much it costs to move home around the UK and what you can do to keep costs under control.

  • If you’re buying a new home, our expert advisers can help you find the best mortgage deal for your circumstances – call Which? Mortgage Advisers on 0800 197 8461.

Average cost of moving UK-wide

The cost of moving varies dramatically depending on where you live in the UK.

The Lloyds data takes into account stamp duty, estate agency fees, surveyors, home removal, conveyancing fees and getting an EPC on your new home.

Londoners face paying an average of £33,741 to make a move, largely due to higher house prices pushing up the cost of stamp duty.

By contrast, in Northern Ireland, you pay as little as £6,156 – almost half the national average. Other low-cost areas to move include Scotland, Wales and the North East.

You can explore our map to see how the cost of moving compares.

What are the biggest costs of moving?

There a surprising number of services involved in moving home, from estate agents to surveyors and removal companies.

The largest expenses tend to be those charged as a proportion of your property value, namely estate agent fees and stamp duty.

On average, Brits paid £5,729 in estate agency fees. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between 1% and 2% of your sale price, although this does vary depending on the contract you agree.

Stamp duty is the other major cost you’re likely to face on your new property, especially if you’re selling your home to buy a new one, and therefore don’t qualify for the first-time buyer discount. On average, you might pay £3,262 for stamp duty.

Your removals bill will also vary significantly depending on the size of your home, with the average sitting at £1,168. By contrast, conveyancing and surveyors are less likely to be affected by size or value, though you may pay more for a more complicated transaction.

The average cost for these services is set out in the table below.

Cost Estimated cost in 2018
Stamp duty £3,262
Estate-agency fees £5,729
Surveyors £565
Home removal £1,168
Conveyancing £1,326
EPC £60

Source: Lloyds Bank


How much stamp duty will you pay?

It’s one of the largest costs of moving, so it’s important to understand what your stamp duty bill is likely to be.

Stamp duty is tiered, meaning you’ll pay different rates on portions of your property value. Generally as a home mover, you’ll pay nothing on the first £125,000, then 2% on the home value between £125,001 and £250,000 and 5% on the value between £250,001 and £925,000.

High-value homes attract additional costs – you’ll pay 10% between £925,001 and £1.5m, and a further 12% on anything over £1.5m.

If you’re a first-time buyer, you’ll pay nothing on properties worth less than £300,000 and 5% on properties worth between £300,001 and £500,000. Homes more valuable than this will be excluded from the first-time buyer exception and you’ll pay standard rates.

You can use our stamp duty calculator to work out your costs.


How to cut your moving costs

When choosing an estate agent, think about the level of service you need and the commission you’ll be charged.

While it’s worth shopping around, don’t just choose the cheapest deal. Consider how well your agent knows the local market, what services they offer, and whether they’ve had positive reviews in the past. A good agent may be able to get you a better price on your home, and could find you a committed buyer more quickly.

Similarly, when choosing a conveyancer or surveyor, consider their reputation and look for local recommendations. Before getting a house survey, work out which type you need. A low-cost condition report may suffice for a newer, good condition home, but you could save yourself a fortune by ordering a more thorough survey for a higher-risk building.

Removal companies vary in cost and service, so work out how much help you’ll need. You can find out more in our guide to choosing the best companies.

What other expenses could you face?

Aside from the costs above, you may have other expenses that you’ll need to factor into your moving home budget.

If you’re on a fixed-rate mortgage deal when you decide to sell your home, you may face an Early Repayment Charge (ERC). These fees generally decrease over the length of the fixed-rate period. For example, you’re likely to pay more in year one of a five-year deal than in year four, but it could be up to 5% of the outstanding mortgage.

When you arrange a mortgage for your new home, you may also have to pay arrangement fees, though fee-free options do exist. In some cases, it may be possible to port your mortgage – meaning you transfer the old loan to the new property – but fees may apply to such arrangements as well.

When choosing a mortgage deal, you should weigh up the interest rate, length of the term, as well as any associated costs. You may find a low interest option is actually more expensive over the course of the deal once the fees are added to the loan.

And if your new home is substantially different to your old one, you may need to spring for furnishings that fit into the new floorplan. Plus, don’t forget any costs associated with leaving your previous energy or broadband providers and signing up to new deals.

To make sure you don’t miss a single step of the home-moving process, use our moving house checklist.

Get expert advice

Once you own a home, your mortgage is likely to be one of your biggest monthly bills, so it’s important to get the right deal for you.

An expert mortgage broker can explain your options and help you find a mortgage that suits your circumstances. You can request a free callback from Which? Mortgage Advisers by filling out the form below.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.

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