Million pound homes sales hit three year high

Barry Batchelor/PA

The number of property sales worth at least a million pounds has risen to its highest level since the peak of the housing market in Scotland in 2008, according to new research by Bank of Scotland.
There were 60 million pound property sales in Scotland in the first half of 2011 - the largest total since 2008 and 22 percent higher than in the same period in 2010. Across the UK, million pound property sales have increased by 10 percent over the past year.
Million pound property sales outperformed the rest of the market however. The increase in their sales was in marked contrast to the 12 percent fall in residential property sales as a whole over the same period.
Despite this notable out-performance, million pound sales continue to account for a very minor proportion of the Scottish housing market, representing just 0.2 percent of total sales in the first half of the year. Million pound sales account for only 1.1 percent of all sales in the UK.
There are now an estimated 3,3001 homes in Scotland worth at least one million pounds. In the first six months of 2011, Scotland recorded the second biggest percentage rise in million pound sales in the UK, after the North East of England where sales increased four-fold.

In contrast, four English regions experienced a fall in million pound sales over the past year. The West Midlands saw the biggest decline (-31 percent) followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (-30 percent) and the East Midlands (-28 percent).
Nearly half of all the million pound homes sold in Scotland in the first six months of 2011 were in Edinburgh. The Scottish capital also recorded the highest number of million pound property sales outside southern England. More than half of the 32 local authority districts in Scotland saw at least one sale of over a million pounds in the same period. Though overall, almost two-thirds of all million pound sales in the UK in the first six months of 2011 were in London.
Suren Thiru, Bank of Scotland housing economist, said: "The number of homes sold for at least a £1 million has increased significantly over the past year in marked contrast to the rather more subdued picture across the rest of the housing market.

"Strong demand from wealthy cash rich buyers both in Scotland and further afield, as well as limited supply of such properties, has helped to boost the level of activity at the very top end of the housing market."
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