GLASGOW homebuyers have suffered the steepest rise in commission charged by estate agents in Scotland over the past year as more than £156 million was paid out across the country.
House hunters in Scotland’s largest city saw a six per cent increase in payments after their purchases have gone through over the last 12 months. The typical sales commission for the city has risen by more than £120 to £2,164.
In Edinburgh, where the typical fee of £4,326 paid to estate agents is the highest in Scotland, the rise was just 0.8 per cent.
In the cheapest region for fees, Inverclyde, the typical commission actually fell by 0.3 per cent to £1,821.
Online estate agency, Purplebricks, which collated the statistics, said the selling fees across Scotland mirrors the way house prices have risen and in some cases fallen, as traditional agents usually take a percentage of the house sale.
The fixed-fee agents said that Scots homebuyers are paying estate agents ever more money in fees with some £156.7m charged in commission for selling property in 2016.
Their study shows the typical fee charged in Scotland rose by more than £100 (four per cent) in a year to average £2,633 – half the rate of the rest of the UK.
Elsewhere, the typical commission in Aberdeenshire was £3,296 a 1.2 per cent rise in the year and in Stirling there was a 4.8 per cent rise to £3,185.
According to Nationwide Building Society, house prices in Scotland increased by 2.2 per cent to reach an average of £142,895 in 2016
Across the UK, high street estate agents have broken through the £4 billion a year barrier in earnings from commission fees on house sales thanks to soaring property values, while the nationwide average fee charged on selling a home was £4,055 – a rise of nearly eight per cent in the year.
Purplebricks has launched a campaign to raise awareness of how much commission householders have been paying to traditional estate agents when moving home, and how they can avoid paying so much by taking a fixed fee.
Property expert and TV presenter Amanda Lamb, who is backing the campaign, said: “This campaign will open people’s eyes to the misery you feel when you’ve forked out thousands on commission and haven’t got anything more for your money.
“Research shows that 95 per cent of people don’t realise exactly what they are paying in commission, until the bill hits and this needs to change. It is virtual money because it isn’t paid up front and in some ways the amount is hidden until the last moment.” Factoring in VAT is something people forget to do as well, so what starts as a low percentage on paper adds up into a considerable sum in commission paid.
Purplebricks said traditional agents’ charges can be as high as 2.5 per cent, but a typical fee is 1.8 per cent.
Purplebricks chief executive Michael Bruce said: “People too often engage an estate agent without realising or thinking about whether there is a better alternative.”
Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, said of the UK figures the increases were in line with expectations.