According to HMRC, the number of homes sold for more than £1 million in England and Wales went up by 6% in 2017, with a total number of 19,100 property sales over £1 million.
Although this rise in prime sales volumes over the past 12 months points to a relatively active market, the analysis of Land Registry data shows that the most notable rises in activity have come in prime markets outside of London and the traditional ‘commuter zone’. The capital still accounts for 60% of million-pound plus sales; however, there has been a strong house price growth in regional markets and a steady demand.
Yorkshire holds the biggest annual increase in £1 million plus sales, with 40%, followed by the North West with 36% and the West Midlands with 19%. These regions have seen a good price growth in 2017, partially explained by the rise in the million pound transactions.
Outside of London, some 18 local authorities recorded 100 or more £1 million plus transactions in last year, up from 14 in 2016. Of these, Elmbridge, in Surrey, was home to the largest number of £1 million-plus sales, followed by other prime hotspots in the South East including Windsor and Maidenhead, South Bucks and the Chilterns.
St Albans, Epping Forest and Cambridge are the most active prime markets in the East of England, while Cheshire East was the sole representative from the North where more than 100 million-pound sales were agreed in 2017, up 38% compared to 2016.
Excluding areas where fewer than 20 high values sales were recorded, Cheltenham saw the biggest rise, nearly doubling compared with 2016, followed by Birmingham and North Hertfordshire. An increase in prime market activity has come alongside strong annual house price growth in each of these areas, up 8.1%, 5.5% and 6.1% respectively, a factor that will have helped push a number of properties over the £1 million threshold.