Million pound property sales across Britain in the first half of 2005 were 26% lower than in the first six months of 2004, according to new Halifax research.
The biggest falls were in Greater London and the South East, which combined accounted for 99% of the overall decline in sales nationally. There were also modest declines in the South West, North West, East, Wales, and Yorkshire & the Humber.
The research says there were sales of at least one property of a value over £1m in 176 local authority districts in the first half of 2005. Eight local authority districts saw their first million pound property sales in the first half of 2005: Tameside, Hastings, Castlepoint, Alnwick, Carlisle, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Shrewsbury & Atcham and Dumfries.
Outside London and the South East, the local authority areas of Poole in the South West and Midlothian in Scotland had the highest number of sales over £1 million in the first half of 2005.
Million pound properties accounted for only 0.4% of all sales nationally in the first half of 2005. Even in London, sales of property worth over £1m represented only 2% of total property sales.
On the basis that sales are representative of the entire housing stock, there are now approximately 53,400 properties in Britain valued at least £1m claims Halifax. This compares with only 3,400 in 1995. In London, the lender estimates that 33,000 properties are now valued above £1m compared with just 2,600 in 1995.
London and the South East accounted for more than four-fifths (81%) of all sales over £1m during the first six months of 2005, according to the research, while sales in London accounted for almost two-thirds (61%) of all of such property sales in Britain in the first half of 2005.Kensington & Chelsea and the City of Westminster accounted for one in three property sales over £1m.
Meanwhile, in the first half of 2005 there were 235 property sales above £2 m. This was 24% less than in the same period a year earlier (309), says Halifax.
Martin Ellis, chief economist at the Halifax, says: "There has been a further significant increase in sales above the £1m mark in Scotland, reflecting the ongoing strength of the market north of the border. Nationally the uppermost sector of the residential property market has held up relatively well with the 26% fall in sales of million pound properties comparing with a 36% decline in total house sales between the first halves of 2004 and 2005."
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