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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Stamp duty 'lifts cost of moving'
A big country mansion
Transaction costs have risen fastest for the most expensive properties
Higher rates of stamp duty have led to a sharp rise in the cost of moving to the most expensive properties.

The Woolwich, the mortgage arm of Barclays bank, says moving costs in England and Wales have risen sharply further up the property ladder.

The expense of moving from a semi to a detached house has shot up by 176% since 2000, as many now cost more than the 3% stamp duty level of 250,000.

The survey excluded moving and survey costs but included other fees.

A spokesman for the Woolwich said: "It's at the top end of the market that people are getting unsettled by headline numbers like 25,000 to move up from a semi-detached to a detached house."

But most property sales still take place within the 1% stamp duty band (between 125,00 and 250,000) or below it.

So the lender argues that, for the average house buyer, the cost of moving has been outstripped by house prices themselves since 2000.

According to the Woolwich's calculations, someone moving from an average-priced terraced house to an average-priced semi in England or Wales will have seen their transaction costs rising by 59% since the start of the century.

That compares to a rise in general house prices of 95% during the same period.

The survey, which started in 1994, includes solicitors, estate agents, land registry and search fees as well as stamp duties but excludes moving firms' charges and surveys.

It found that that last year solicitors fees have dropped by 1% while estate agents have raised their charges by 1%


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