The number of sales of homes costing more than £1 million (US$1.35 million) across the U.K. rose 5% in 2017, a report from the Bank of Scotland found.
Sales for high-end homes dipped 1% in the first six months of the year, but recovered toward the end of the year. A total of 14,474 homes worth more than £1 million were sold in 2017, up from 13,748 in 2016, according to the analysis by Lloyds Banking Group, which is part of the Bank of Scotland.
“The £1 million property market got off to a poor start last year, but made a good recovery in the second half,” the head of U.K. Wealth Lending at Lloyds Banking Group, Louise Santaana, said in the report released Saturday.
London claimed 57% of those high-end sales, but the number of transactions there only increased 1% from 2016.
“As always, the highest number of transactions took place in the capital last year. However, growth in London has started to slow for million-pound properties,” according to Ms. Santaana. “Overseas investors represent a good share of this end of the London market and some may be holding off buying, pending further clarity over Brexit.”
The report looked at sales in 11 regions, many of which are seeing “exceptional growth.” High-end sales in Yorkshire and the Humber rose by 60% in 2017 compared to 2016. Sales in the North West were up by 46% year over year, and increased by 28% in the West Midlands, according to the analysis. Only one saw a decline in the number of sales of £1 million-plus homes: the East Midlands, which saw a 23% decrease.
“High-end homeowners and investors in many parts of Great Britain are starting to regain their confidence in the market,” Ms. Santaana said.
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Over the long term, the number of homes sold for more than £1 million shot up 73% in the last decade, the report said, although not every year saw gains. Homes in London in the £1 million category were up 84% since 2007.
Ms. Santaana’s predictions for 2018 were mixed: “With the government consulting on ways to improve the house-buying process, we should see high-end homeowners more empowered to engage in property transactions,” she said. “However, the high cost of stamp duty may be an ongoing deterrent in the top end of the market, particularly for [investors].”
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