Rising property prices creating 'million pound towns'
Britain is starting to gain its first "million pound towns" as property prices continue to push upwards, a report has found.
Lloyds Bank said that, for the first time, several areas outside London are now starting to see average property prices edge over the £1 million mark.
A property in Virginia Water in Surrey, with it stunning lake views, will cost £1.16 million typically, while buyers wanting to live in Cobham, also in Surrey, will need to pay £1.04 million for a home, making it Britain's second most expensive town.
Meanwhile, a home in Beaconsfield, nestled on the edge of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, will now cost a buyer just over £1 million typically.
Some 5,599 million pound property sales took place in the first six months of 2015 - of which one in 10 (10%) took place in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea and 9% took place in Westminster.
T wo-thirds of all property sales in the first half of this year were in London.
The figures show that eight times as many million pound-plus properties were sold in St Albans in Hertfordshire in the first half of 2015 than the number sold in Wales.
In St Albans, 73 such sales took place, compared with nine in Wales.
Some 111 million pound property sales took place in Scotland in the first half of 2015 - which was fewer than the 146 sales which took place in this bracket in the local authority district of Elmbridge in Surrey and the 159 sales which took place in the North London borough of Barnet.
Across Britain, sales of homes worth at least £1 million were down by 11% in the first half of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014, according to Lloyds.
This was the first year-on-year dip seen since 2012, although over the last decade overall, the number of million pound home sales has shot up by 264%.
Sarah Deaves, private banking director at Lloyds Bank, said: "The number of homes sold for over £1 million has fallen sharply over the past year...
"However, the regional picture is much more mixed and we're seeing the emergence of towns where the average price is at least £1 million. Whilst there are several London neighbourhoods where prices are already at this elevated level, outside of the capital this is a first."
The research also found the sale of multi-million pound homes in the first half of 2015 has fallen significantly compared to the same period a year earlier, with sales in the price range £5 million to £10 million 15% lower, and those selling between £2 million and £5 million down by 26%.
While there could be a number of reasons for the decline, the report pointed out that changes to stamp duty in December 2014 have made the tax more expensive for top-end homes.
The changes mean, for example, that a buyer paying £5 million for their property today needs to find £163,750 more than at this time last year to pay the tax.