£1m homes failing to shift, says new survey

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The number of home sales worth at least £1 million has fallen to its lowest level since 2009, according to new research by Lloyds TSB.

Even though there were 3,043 million pound property sales in Great Britain in the first half of 2012 it was the smallest total since the first half of 2009 and 11 per cent lower than in the same period last year.

Sales of million pound homes account for just one per cent of total house sales and even in London only account for only one in 20 sales.

But Lloyds TSB estimates that there are around 166,000 homes in Great Britain worth £1 million or more.

The 11 per cent decline in million pound home sales in the first half of the year was in contrast to the three per cent market-wide rise in property sales over the period.

Last year sales of million pound properties significantly outperformed the rest of the market.

The decline in deals in London – a seven per cent fall of 151 – accounted for almost half of the national decline.

However, more than two-thirds of all million pound sales were in the capital. Scotland accounted for the highest proportion of sales outside southern England.

And properties with an even heftier price tag are failing to shift, too – there were 670 sales of properties costing at least £2 million in the first half of 2012, a fall of 10 per cent on the same period in 2011. This was the first annual fall since 2009.

But right at the top of the market. the number of £5 million plus property sales continued to increase, up by five per cent to 81 in the first six months of the year – the third successive annual increase.

Lloyds TSB housing economist Suren Thiru said: “The number of homes sold for over £1 million has fallen significantly over the past year, reversing the increases recorded over recent years.

“This partly reflects the changing market conditions for those looking to buy such properties including the 40 per cent increase in the stamp duty rate for multi-million pound homes.”

“However, there does remain a certain amount of strength at the very top end of the housing market with sales of homes worth more than £5 million continuing to outstrip the rest of the market with the very top end of London property market still seen as a safe haven by investors.”

Just under half of the 379 local authority districts in the country tracked by the survey recorded at least one sale of over £1 million, but more than three-quarters of all £5 million plus sales are in the London boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster.