New data from Lloyds Bank has shown that sales of million pound properties in Northern England strongly outperformed many other parts of the country in the first six months of 2017 with purchases of prime properties in the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber rising by 55% and 45% respectively.
According to the report, overall, there was a modest drop (-1%) in the number of properties sold for more than a million pounds across Great Britain in H1 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, with the actual number of sales edging down from 6,684 to 6,613.
Despite this 1% fall, the luxury market has still outperformed the rest of the sector. This modest drop is in stark contrast to the 7% decrease in house sales costing under £1m and a 5% drop in the sale of all properties.
Million pound home sales in London fell by 7% from 4,230 to 3,940. Other areas which experienced significant decreases in the number of purchases of premium-priced properties include Scotland (down by 35%), East Midlands (down by 27%) and Wales (down by 31%), all of which experienced an overall decline in house sales.
This is part of a growing trend as the average price for million pound properties has dropped for three consecutive years, from £1,862,578 in H1 2014 to £1,717,141 in 2017, a fall of 8%.
Sarah Deaves, Private Banking Director at Lloyds Bank, commented: “In the first six months of 2017 we saw a modest decrease in the number of houses being sold for more than one million pounds, together with a fall in the average price of top-end homes. However, sales in northern England and the West Midlands appear to have bucked the trend, with buyers making high value purchases perhaps taking advantage of lower borrowing rates.
There are several factors that could be responsible for the ongoing uncertainty in the market, including interest rates and economic stability. Changes to stamp duty in 2016, which saw a 3% increase for second homes (including buy-to-let homes) also resulted in a surge of purchases in Q1 2016, ahead of the new rules coming into force.
With the Office for Budget Responsibility revising down forecasts for house prices and housing transactions we expect this slowing to continue into the new year. This could mean that it takes longer for people to sell a million pound property or find their new dream home.
There are steps that people looking to purchase a million pound property can take to speed up the process, however, and avoid missing out. It’s important to urge anyone to seek advice about the appropriate options available to them.
It’s not just about buyers. Owners of valuable properties who are planning to downsize or relocate may also wish to consider seeking advice around how they could pass this wealth onto family members.”