Cost of selling and buying property increases

6 July 2009

Homebuyers and sellers will have to pay more for searches after the Land Registry put up its fees for the first time since 1993.

The government agency provides a register of the ownership of property, which enables people to find out who owns land and how much was paid for it the last time it was sold.
This information is an important part of the house purchase process.

The Land Registry says the economic downturn has left it with little choice but to hike its charges for all applications for searches.

These include the fees payable for registering the sale of a property, applications for an inspection of the register, official copies and official searches. It is also introducing a fee for all searches of the index map.

There are nine price bands for registering the sale of a property. Homes sold for less than £50,000 will now cost an additional £10 to register, while the most expensive properties with price tags of more than £1 million, will cost £920 – up from £700 – as a result of the fee hike.

Registering the sale of the average house costing around £153,000 will now cost an extra £50 at £200.

The dramatic reduction in the number of property sales has hit the Land Registry’s coffers. In a statement it says: “Due to the downturn in the property market and the deterioration in the economy generally, our intakes of work fell heavily in 2008 and 2009 leading to an unsustainable reduction in our fee income.

“’[…] We would not be able to cover our operating costs without increases in our fees.”

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