Million pound homes hit four year high

There were 3,375 million pound property sales in Great Britain in the first half of 2011 - equivalent to 19 sales everyday over the period. This is the largest total since 2007 (3,680) and 10% higher than in the same period in 2010 (3,075).

The 10% increase in million pound home sales in the first half of the year was in marked contrast to the 9% fall in residential property sales as a whole over the period.

Despite this notable outperformance, million pound sales continue to account for a very minor proportion of the national housing market, representing just 1.1% of total sales in the first half of the year.

Even in London, million pound sales account for only 5.7% of all sales. There are now an estimated 200,000 homes in Britain worth at least one million pounds.

Higher million pound sales in the capital – a 237 increase from 1,926 in the first six months of 2010 to 2,163 in the corresponding period this year – accounted for 79% of the increase nationally.

Almost two-thirds of all million pound sales in Great Britain in the first six months of 2011 were in London. The South East (690), East of England (227) and the South West (118) were the only other regions where sales were in at least three digits.

All these four regions in southern England, together with the North East and Scotland, recorded an increase in sales in the first six months of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010.

In contrast, four regions experienced a fall in million pound sales over the past year. The West Midlands saw the biggest decline (-31%) followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (-30%). East Midlands (-28%) and the North West (-4%) also recorded falls.

Suren Thiru, Lloyds TSB housing economist, said: "The number of homes sold for at least a £1 million has increased significantly over the past year in marked contrast to the rather more subdued picture across the rest of the housing market. Strong demand from wealthy cash rich buyers both in the UK and from overseas, as well as limited supply of such properties, has helped to boost the level of activity at the very top end of the housing market."