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The number of homes sold for more than £1m in England and Wales rose by six per cent in 2017, according to HMRC. In total, there were 19,100 property sales over £1 million across England and Wales last year.
A rise in prime sales volumes over the past 12 months points to a relatively active market. However, our analysis of Land Registry data – which allows us to look at the distribution of sales across the country – shows the most notable rises in activity have come in prime markets outside of London and the traditional ‘commuter zone’.
While the capital still accounts for 60 per cent of million-pound plus sales, stronger house price growth in regional markets and steady demand means that the geographical spread of million pound homes being traded has widened.
The biggest annual increase in £1 million-plus sales was in Yorkshire (40 per cent), followed by the North West (36 per cent) and the West Midlands (19 per cent) – regions of the country which have seen fairly good house price growth in 2017, which partially explains the rise in million pound transactions, even with higher rates of stamp duty at this end of the market.
Some 18 local authorities outside of London recorded 100 or more £1 million-plus transactions in last year, up from 14 in 2016. Of these, Elmbridge, in Surrey, washome to the largest number of £1 million-plus sales, followed by other prime hotspots in the South East including Windsor and Maidenhead, South Bucks and the Chilterns.
In the East of England, where annual house price growth stood at 5.2 per cent in 2017, the most active prime markets were found in St Albans, Epping Forest and Cambridge.
Cheshire East was the sole representative from the North where more than 100 million-pound sales were agreed in 2017, up 38% from 2016.
Although the majority of transactions took place in London and the South East, the largest increases in £1 million sales occurred in 2017 in markets outside of London’s traditional ‘commuter zone’.
Excluding areas where fewer than 20 high values sales were recorded, Cheltenham saw the biggest rise, nearly doubling compared with 2016, followed by Birmingham and North Hertfordshire. An increase in prime market activity has come alongside strong annual house price growth in each of these areas, up 8.1 per cent, 5.5 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively, a factor that will have helped push a number of properties over the £1 million threshold.
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