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Movers benefit from lower estate agent fees

The cost of moving house has fallen to a 10-year low and could dip even more as a slowdown in the market forces estate agents to compete on charges, says the Woolwich.

The lender&#39s annual survey shows the average cost of moving from a £150,000 home to a £200,000 home has fallen by 25 per cent to £5,523 today from £7,378 in 1993.

The cost of moving from a £150,000 house varies from £4,785 in the North-west to £6,249 in Greater London – a difference of 23 per cent.

Woolwich says this is mainly because estate agents in the North are charging around 30 per cent less than those in the South.

The survey, which was carried out by the University of Greenwich using data from 1,350 estate agents and solicitors across the UK, reveals that estate agents have reduced their charges by 6 per cent in the last year. But solicitors&#39 charges increased by 7 per cent in 2002.

Woolwich head of mortgages Andy Gray says: “Contrary to popular perception, the 25 per cent drop in house moving fees over the past 10 years is largely because estate agents have dropped their fees by around 45 per cent.

“With house-price inflation set to slow markedly this year, this could lead to increased competition among estate agents and less activity in the property market.

“We would expect these fees to fall further as we move into 2004.”

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