Home Counties outpace Greater London for £1m properties

Elizabeth Mason
12 July 2017
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More than half of the £1 million-plus property purchases in England and Wales are set to take place outside Greater London for the first time on record, says an independent mortgage broker.

With house prices continuing to rise across the UK, the volume of £1 million-plus transactions in England and Wales has risen by 195% between 2011 and 2016 – as compared to 54% for property transactions of any value.

If these current trends continue, at least 51% of £1 million-plus properties will be bought outside Greater London – up from 37% in 2011, says mortgage broker Private Finance.

​The number of houses sold for more than £1 million are at a record high in counties such as Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, and Surrey, as best buy rates for £1 million mortgages have fallen over the past year, making these properties more affordable.

The average loan to value (LTV) went up by 2% to 56% last year for mortgaged purchases in the £1 million price range, with Private Finance suggesting that buyers may be using substantial assets including jewellery, fine art or sports cars to count towards their income for mortgage borrowing.

The trend appears despite the slowdown of activity at the top of the housing market after reforms to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) LINK in December 2014 and April 2016. With house prices continuing to rise, the number of property transactions above the £1 million mark went up 10% between 2015 and 2016.

Historically, most £1 million-plus property transactions have taken place in Greater London, which benefited from a 63% share of the higher-end market in 2011. Between 2011 and 2016, London had the largest growth in the annual volume of £1 million-plus transactions (7,333). Surrey was ranked second with 818, followed by Hertfordshire with 676.

This changed significantly in 2016, when Hertfordshire had the biggest growth in the number properties sold for £1 million – up by 177 on the previous year. In second place was Surrey with 127, followed by Essex with 110. Greater London ranked seventh in the annual growth rate for £1 million-plus transactions with 83 – behind areas such as Greater Manchester, Hampshire and Kent.

See the table below for the biggest areas for growth in the annual volume of £1m+ property purchases.

2011-2016 2015-2016 
Greater London7,311Hertfordshire177
Surrey818Surrey127
Hertfordshire676Essex110
Hampshire374Hampshire106
Essex347Kent98
Buckinghamshire339Greater Manchester90
Kent315Greater London83
Greater Manchester303West Sussex80
Oxfordshire261Gloucestershire68
West Midlands233West Yorkshire66

 

Shaun Church, director at Private Finance, says: “Sustained house price growth in London means that even for many highly paid professionals, a large family home in the capital is now out of reach. With buyers looking further afield as a result, this has contributed to significant growth in the number of million pound-plus transactions in areas such as Kent, Essex and the Home Counties, which are all within easy commuting distance of London.” 

The latest UK House Price Index from the Land Registry (April 2017) shows house prices are rising faster year on year in six English regions including East of England, the South West, West Midlands, the South East, East Midlands, and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Volume of £1 million-plus property transactions in England and Wales in 2011

Volume of £1 million-plus property transactions in England and Wales in 2011.

Volume of £1 million-plus property transactions in England and Wales in 2016

Volume of £1 million-plus property transactions in England and Wales in 2016.

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