If you believe all the doom and gloom currently being written about the UK property market, you might suppose that no-one is buying or selling houses, particularly in the million pound bracket. And, while it may be true both that the number of UK property millionaires fell by an estimated 35,000 in the twelve months prior to January 2019 and that the London prime property market is struggling, reports from the rest of the country are more encouraging.
Properties worth in excess of £1 million - having confidence in valuations
It may be something of a truism to point out that no property is worth more than a buyer is prepared to pay for it. As such, as any estate agent knows, valuing a property prior to the transfer of funds at completion is always going to be something of an inexact science. However, following a thorough and proper assessment of:
- what similar properties locally have recently sold for
- the price at which similar properties locally have recently failed to sell for
- other relevant market factors, e.g. school catchment areas, proposed public transport plans,
the majority of professionally-conducted valuations are robust and relate well to subsequent sold property prices. Consequently, it is possible to have confidence in recent figures demonstrating that almost three-quarters of a million UK homeowners own a property that is worth more than £1 million. This figure is down by around 5 per cent on the corresponding figure twelve months earlier, but there is still plenty of choice for anyone who is in the market for a £1 million-plus house.
Properties worth in excess of £1 million - the top locations inside London
As ever - and despite a difficult market - London heads the list of locations for £1 million properties. Of course, this is partly due to London's size (an estimated 8.9 million residents in 2018) and the sheer quantities of its housing stock (an estimated 3.56 million housing units in 2018), but it is also a consequence of the spending power still evident in the capital. As a result, with an estimated 395,871 homes worth more than £1 million, London boasts more than 12 per cent of the nation's seven-figure properties.
The top ten locations of £1 million-plus properties in the capital is as follows:
2. Kensington and Chelsea
5. Hammersmith and Fulham
However, even locations that are often perceived as less desirable by some buyers have properties that are now valued at or above £1 million. Barking and Dagenham, for example, has 22.
Properties worth in excess of £1 million - the top locations outside London
South-east England is London's closest competitor, with approximately 171,454 properties worth £1 million or more.
From a local perspective, the affluent Surrey town of Guildford currently claims the crown for the location outside of London with the most properties worth more than £1 million. It currently has an estimated 5,615 properties in this bracket, putting it just ahead of Cambridge, with approximately 5,426 homes in the same category. Sevenoaks and St Albans take third and fourth places on the list with 5,188 and 4,889 respectively. Edinburgh is the only location outside of the south-east or eastern England also to make it into the top five. And with the Scottish capital enjoying something of a property renaissance at the moment, it is perhaps no surprise to see that it has an estimated 4,818 homes worth £1 million or more.
Looking at the picture from the perspective of proportions rather than numbers (which is inevitably distorted by the size of the location), Surrey's Cobham, which does not feature in the top ten, gets close to the magic 50 per cent figure. 44.3 per cent of its homes are valued at £1 million or more.
Properties worth in excess of £1 million - where to find the strongest growth
In line with all those less than stellar reports about the state of the property market in London and the south-east of England, the strongest growth in the £1 million-plus property market is to be found elsewhere. Eastern England, which includes Cambridge, is currently enjoying the strongest growth. In 2018, 6,237 individuals in Eastern England joined the ranks of the property millionaires. In percentage terms, this puts the region at the head of the growth table by some margin.
The West Midlands, which is home to only around 0.5 per cent of the UK's total stock of £1 million-plus homes, is also doing well. In the same period, 1,002 of its properties also moved into the £1 million-plus bracket.
Meanwhile, Wales is now home to 150 people whose properties crossed the million-pound threshold in 2018. This is despite the fact that Wales has the UK's lowest number of property millionaires - below 2,500 - by some margin.
Consequently, the data suggests that it is property owners outside London and its traditionally affluent surroundings that may be set to enjoy the biggest rises in the value of their homes and property investments. As ever at the moment, the nuances of Brexit and the Tory party leadership race are undoubtedly influencing matters. Estate agents continue to report reduced buyer appetite in many areas of the country, particularly in those locations threatened by job losses, while many sellers, too, are apparently hunkering down and preparing to ride out any storm. While this may mean that many of the newest entrants to the million pound property club may not be tested in the market, the sheer quantity of homes in this bracket may well result in increased confidence. Sold property prices continue to hold up well in many areas, notably those outside London and the south-east, although some experts are predicting a fall-back in the run-up to Brexit. With no crystal ball to tell us what to expect after the end of October, buyers and sellers alike may decide to exercise a further degree of caution - at least over the next few months, in order to give the immediate economic repercussions time to play out.
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