Multi-million pound house sales boom to record level

In spite of rising house prices and increasing mortgage rates, the sales of houses worth over £2 million pounds are at an all-time high, according to recent research.

The study conducted by Lloyds TSB suggests that the top-end of the UK's property market has been least affected by the weak housing market. The report showed that sales of houses priced at £2 million and above had seen a notable increase.

2011 saw a record number of 1,518 houses priced over £2 million sold in the UK. This demonstrated a 5% rise from 2010 and was marked the highest number on record since the survey began in 1995. Houses priced at over £5 million pounds showed an even greater increase of 22% on the previous year - from 128 to 152.

London accounted for over 75% of these £2m-plus house sales with more than half of these sales in the affluent boroughs of Kensington, Chelsea, Westminster and Camden. This further confirms that the capital city is playing a major part in the sustentation of the housing market as it boasts significant price growth in comparison to other areas in the UK.

In contrast, houses priced at £1 million pounds saw a marginal decrease on previous year - falling 5% from 7,256 in 2010 to 6,911.

The multi-million pound house sales contrasted from the overall property sales as the total number of houses sold in the UK last year saw a decrease from 728,550 to 698,200.

The report reasoned that top-end 'cash-rich' buyers were 'largely immune' to the problems which other borrowers may face in this climate such as tougher mortgage criterias and rising interest rates.

Suren Thiren, Lloyds TSB's housing economist said:

"The rise in the number of multimillion-pound property sales over the past year compares to the weakening picture across the rest of the market, highlighting the strength at the very top end of the housing market."

Thiru explains that the consistent interest from 'wealthy buyers from UK and overseas' is supporting the higher end of the generally weak property market to remain strong.

The Budget's recent announcement of the rise in stamp duty tax on homes worth over £2 million pounds from 5% to 7% has elicited worries from estate agents about the future of top-end property sales.