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Friday 21st of August 2009
August 19, 2009

Land Registry workload “fallen off a cliff”


by Gill Montia
”Land

In presenting its 2008/09 annual report, the Land Registry describes its core businesses as having “collapsed” as the property downturn deepened.

The service’s work registering new homes in England and Wales plummeted by 75% compared to a year earlier and total applications handled in the year to the end of March fell to 26.7 million, compared with 36.3 million during the previous 12 months.

Income from registration declined to £308,050, down from £482,944 in 2007/2008.

The fall in revenue reflected the housing market slowdown plus the trend for borrowers coming to the end of fixed-rate deals to revert to lenders’ standard variable rates, rather than remortage.

To cope with downturn the Registry has reduced staff numbers and increased fees.

In July, charges for registering a property worth £100,000 rose from £100 to £130 and for a property worth £1 million from £420 to £550; for an average priced home at £153,000, the hike amounted to £50.

In addition, charges for providing information, including official searches and official copies, increased from £6 to £8.

The body’s chief land registrar and chief executive, Peter Collins, said: “To put it bluntly, our workload and income have fallen off a cliff. It’s probably the most difficult period in our long history.”

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