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First fall in 2 years for million-pound home sales

This compares with a 55% increase in 2010 and was the first annual fall in million-pound sales since 2009. In total, there are an estimated 165,000 homes in Britain worth at least £1million.

However, multi-million pound property sales rose to their highest level on record in 2011. There were 1518 property sales worth at least £2million in 2011, a rise of 5% from 1442 sales in 2010. This is the highest number of sales, in this price bracket, since records began in 1995. Sales of properties topping the £2million mark were also 2% higher in 2011 than at the peak of the housing market in 2007 (1484).

In addition, the number of properties selling for more than £5million rose by 22% from 128 in 2010 to 156 in 2011, providing further evidence of the strength of sales at the very top end of the market.

More than three-quarters (76%) of all £2million-plus sales in 2011 were in London (1161), and more than half of all multi-million pound sales took place in just three boroughs: Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Camden. 

The 5% rise in multi-million pound property sales in 2011 contrasted to the fall in sales across the rest of the housing market. Overall, total home sales in Great Britain fell by 4% from 728,550 in 2010 to 698,200 in 2011.

Despite the increase in sales, Lloyds TSB estimates that only 0.2% (38,0001) of all homes in Britain are worth at least £2million and, therefore, potentially subject to the new 7% stamp duty rate. Even in London, multi-million pound sales account for only 1.3% of all properties.

Suren Thiru, Lloyds TSB Housing Economist, said: "The rise in the number of multi-million pound property sales over the past year compares to the weakening picture across the rest of the market, highlighting the strength at the very top end of the housing market.

"Continued demand from wealthy cash-rich buyers, both from the UK and overseas, as well as limited supply has meant that this segment of the market remains largely immune from the headwinds facing the vast majority of homebuyers."

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