Record price gap for high-end homes

for sale signsThe "wealth gap" between asking prices for high-end properties and typical UK houses has reached record levels, a survey has found.

Foreign investors have boosted sales at the top end of the market, while at the other end first-time buyers have struggled to get on the ladder, Primelocation.com found.
Primelocation.com's monthly index said the average asking price for "prime" properties - those that are in the top quarter of the market by value - is £472,340, some £250,000 more than average asking prices.

The latest figures showed asking prices for prime properties increased by 0.5% in September, the seventh monthly increase in a row.

Meanwhile, asking prices for properties generally fell by 0.2% last month, with the typical asking price now £219,943 - less than half the amount of those at the top end. The figures show the average premium property is being put on the market for 115% more than the typical UK home.

Primelocation.com said the gap is the biggest in percentage and monetary terms since its records began.

Nigel Lewis, property analyst at Primelocation.com, said: "Property at the lower end of the market has had a difficult time due to challenging conditions for first-time buyers while the top end, particularly in and around London, has continued to increase.

"Part of this is due to the significance of foreign investment in the UK prime market."

Primelocation.com, which lists just under a million properties in the UK and overseas, said the gap between the two groups has been steadily rising since the index launched at the end of 2007, and the trend shows no sign of abating.

The latest research follows a Lloyds TSB report last week which found that sales of homes worth at least £1 million have reached their highest level since the peak of the housing market in 2007.

© 2011 Press Association
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