Surge in volume of £1m property sales

There were 7185 £1million property sales in Great Britain in 2010 – 54% higher than in 2009. This is the largest annual increase since 2006 (62%) and suggests a real resurgence at the very top end of the housing market. In total, there are now an estimated 184,000 homes in Britain worth at least £1million.

Despite this significant increase, £1million property sales remain 13% below the levels they reached before the onset of the financial crisis in 2007 (8216), following a sizable 43% decline in sales between 2007 and 2009. These figures underline the fact that the upper end of the market was significantly affected by the financial crisis.

Sales of million pound properties rose significantly more than total housing transactions in 2010. The 54% increase in million pound home sales in 2010 was nine times the overall increase in sales (6%). In contrast, there was a 1% fall in the number of sales worth less than £250,000. Despite this outperformance, million pound sales continue to represent a very small proportion of the total market, accounting for just 1% of all sales in Britain in 2010.

The geographical distribution of million pound home sales also reflects the wider north-south divide in the housing market with London and the South East accounting for 83% of all million pound sales in Great Britain in 2010.

Nonetheless, there are signs of substantial growth elsewhere: the West Midlands recorded the biggest percentage increase in million pound sales (109%), followed by the East of England (62%), while London also saw a marked rise (56%).

Suren Thiru, Lloyds TSB Housing Economist, said: "The number of properties sold for over £1million has risen substantially over the past year, reflecting the strength of the very top end of the housing market.

"A small number of areas in London still account for the lion’s share of all £1million sales, with housing market activity in such locations continuing to benefit from strong demand from wealthy international buyers and limited supply. In contrast, the level of activity across the wider housing market remains subdued."

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