Sales of 1m homes drop

Halifax says million pound property sales in the first half of 2005 were 26% lower than in the first six months of 2004.

This decline follows a 36% rise between 2003 and 2004. Some 1,508 million pound properties were sold in Britain during the first six months of this year compared with 2,033 in the first half of 2004.

Scotland bucked the trend with 40 million pound homes sold in the first half of 2005 compared with just 18 during the same period in 2004. There were also small increases in the North-East, West Midlands and East Midlands.

The biggest falls were in Greater London where there were 366 less, and the South-East which was down by 153. There were also modest declines in the South-West, North-West, the East, Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber.

At least one property costing 1m was sold in each of 176 local authority districts in the first half of 2005. Eight local authority districts saw their first million pound home sold in the first half of this year.

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 1m in the first half of 2005.

Million pound properties accounted for only 0.4% of all sales nationally in the first half of this year. Even in London, homes of over 1m represented only 2% of total property sales.

Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax, says: “There has been a significant increase in sales above the 1m mark in Scotland, reflecting the strength of the market north of the border.

“Nationally the upper 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.”