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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Foreign home fees 'are too high'
Estate agent's window
High UK house prices are prompting some to invest overseas
People who buy property overseas face transaction costs that are often "unnecessarily high", a report says.

The cost of registering property, transfer taxes and estate agent and legal fees can be as much as 22% of the sale price, said Global Property Guide.

Its study of home transaction costs in OECD countries found large variations between nations.

South Korea had the highest fees, whereas Denmark had the lowest, at about 2% of the sale price.

S. Korea: 22.08%
Belgium: 17.88%
Italy: 17%
France: 16.3%
Luxembourg : 15.65%
*As a proportion of sale price Source: Global Property Guide

"The high cost of buying and selling residential property abroad has received surprisingly little attention," the firm said.

"For property investors, these costs are a significant negative factor. We believe that in some countries, these transaction costs are unnecessarily high."

The company, an online property research service, based its calculations on a property costing 250,000 euros in European countries or $250,000 elsewhere.

Property and capital gains tax were not included in the study.

Denmark: 2%
Iceland: 2.4%
Slovakia: 3.1%
UK: 5.03%
Norway: 5.06%
*As a proportion of sale price Source: Global Property Guide

It found that countries which derive their law from the French commercial code - including Belgium, Italy and Spain - had higher transaction costs than other nations, averaging 14.2% of the property value.

Scandinavian countries, including Iceland and Denmark, were among those with the lowest fees.

"The cultural region where you are buying will have an impact on your profits," the firm said.

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