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£1m homes make up for slumping stocks

The number of properties sold for over £1m has increased more than tenfold since 1995, according to Halifax Bank.

Figures compiled by the company using information from the Land Registry reveal that 2,434 properties valued at over £1m were sold last year compared with 232 in 1995.

Halifax says the overwhelming majority of £1m-plus property sales are in Greater London and the South-east. In the first half of this year, in Greater London, 850 homes were sold for over £1m while 286 were sold in the rest of the South-east. One house in the North was sold for over £1m but no properties in Wales hit the £1m mark.

Halifax estimates the number of properties sold for over £1m this year will total 2,600, almost double the 1,305 sold in 1999.

It says the rapid rise in the number of £1m properties coincides with the 40 per cent fall in the FTSE 100 since its peak at the end of 1999. It believes the decline in share prices has boosted the demand for upmarket properties as wealthy people switch some of their portfolio from equities to property, especially in London and the South-east.

Group economist Martin Ellis says: “The rapid pace of house price inflation over the last few years has led to a significant increase in the number of property paper millionaires. Rising property prices will have helped to cushion the blow of falling share price for many of these people but it does mean more and more home-owners need to be aware of the potential inheritance tax liability that this creates.”

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