£1m-plus home sales near 2007 level
Sales of homes worth at least £1 million have reached their highest level since the peak of the housing market in 2007, Lloyds TSB has said.
Britain saw 3,375 sales of such properties in the first half of this year, an increase of 10% on the same period in 2010 and the largest total since the first part of 2007, when there were 3,680 sales.
The strength at the top end of the market was in marked contrast to home sales generally, which saw a 9% decline in the first half of this year.
Suren Thiru, Lloyds TSB housing economist, said: "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."
London drove the rise in luxury sales, accounting for 79% of the total increase. Almost two-thirds of million pound-plus home sales in the first six months of 2011 were in London.
The capital saw 2,163 sales in the first half of this year compared with 1,926 in the same period in 2010.
Kensington and Chelsea was the biggest luxury property hotspot, with 461 such sales in the first half of 2011, while Westminster enjoyed 375 and Hammersmith and Fulham had 198, coming second and third respectively.
The North East as a whole enjoyed the highest percentage increase in luxury sales, with 13 top end homes sold in 2011, compared with three in the first half of 2010.
Despite the boost to the luxury market, million pound sales made up just 1.1% of total sales for the first half of the year and even in London they only accounted for 5.7%, Lloyds TSB said.
The figures were taken from the Land Registry and Registers of Scotland.