Average residential conveyancing fees for a freehold property purchase and sale in early 2022 stood at £1,090.32 and £1,092.89 respectively.
Property Solvers’, an online estate agent which specialises in fast sales, said its annual research of legal practices in England and Wales had revealed an increase of 21.1 per cent for home sales and 19.92 per cent for purchases, compared to similar data collected in early 2021.
The auctioneer said it had approached 100 conveyancing firms for online quotes, assuming mortgage finance was being redeemed upon the sale’s completion or that the property was being purchased with a mortgage.
Property values were £450,000 or below for both purchase or sale. Property Solvers said the fees did not include disbursements such as telegraphic transfer charges, searches, ID checks etc.
Average conveyancing costs for a leasehold property rose 18.64 per cent (from £907.95 in 2021 to £1,077.20 in 2022) and by 15.83 per cent for leasehold property purchases (from £842.30 in 2021 to £975.66 in 2022).
The cost of remortgaging – based on a secured loan of £315,000 – rose 7.27 per cent – from £565.40 in 2021 to £606.51 in 2022). According to Property Solvers, leasehold supplementary costs tend to lie at between £100 and £250.
Ruban Selvanayagam of Property Solvers said the rise was not a surprise and that conveyancing solicitors have been increasing fees to take account of “rising inflationary pressures” across most service-led sectors alongside sustained demand from the home sales market at large over the last year.
He added: “Conveyancing fees, compared with estate agency costs, tend to have more disparities relative to the firm’s location and reputation. For instance, there were several leasehold purchase quotes ranging from as low as £588 right up to the £2,000 plus range. We also came across a remortgage conveyancing fee at £246 and as high as £1,434, which was inclusive of VAT.”
“However, we would generally advise steering clear of quotes that seem too cheap as your case may well be one of a huge pile that the conveyancing firm is dealing with.” “This could jeapordise the successful completion of the transaction.”
Selvanayagam added that in addition to online reviews, it was always worth checking the firm’s current workload (most will be honest with you).”
A spokesperson for the Law Society England and Wales said conveyancing firms had faced unprecedented demand due to factors including the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday and solicitors having to work long hours and employ additional staff.
He said: “Some firms may have chosen to raise their fees to meet this volume of work and ensure they can deliver a good service to all their clients and to meet the deadlines imposed by the SDLT holiday, thereby saving clients substantial sums of money in some transactions.”
“The fees are still comparatively low when compared to estate agency fees, especially given that conveyancers bear most of the risk in the transaction.”