Postal plan could affect sales

House buyers and sellers may have to take into account the cost and inconvenience of posting letters if plans to change the way postage is paid for go ahead.

The postal monopoly ends in January and there has been much discussion about the knock-on effect this will have on a system that delivers 84 million letters a day.

Adam Crozier, chief executive of Royal Mail, believes stamp prices must increase when the monopoly ends in order to continue providing a universal service on an economic basis.

Looking at the experience of countries that have found themselves in a similar position postal prices have risen dramatically, particularly in rural areas. In Sweden, stamp prices almost doubled for letters delivered to remote places.

David Hollingworth, head of communications at London & Country, says: “Of course this will probably only be a small increase so in itself it won’t have any impact on house buying decisions. As long as it doesn’t become a once a week delivery in rural areas it won’t affect house buyers.

“But it links in to the wider issue of rural communities having their facilities and services squeezed, making everyday tasks a chore.

“Suddenly paying a cheque into your bank becomes a major procedure that costs more as there’s no bank or post office in your area. You have to travel miles.”

A Royal Mail spokesman says: “I can’t see that ever happening. We have no plans to copy the Swedish model.”