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400,000 in Britain are property millionaires

Wed 05 Mar 2014

400,000 in Britain are property millionaires

By Becky Barrow

Business Correspondent

A record 400,000 homeowners are now property millionaires - twice as many as five years ago.

The number of homes worth 1million or more has jumped by a third over the past year alone, fuelled by soaring house prices in London and the South East.

A report found that 255 homeowners have been promoted to the exclusive club every day, including many who bought their house for a fraction of the price many years ago.

But the rise means that, in some areas, such as south west London, young couples looking to move from a flat to a house are forced to take on crippling mortgages. And house prices are still rising, according to figures published separately yesterday by the Office for National Statistics.

House prices in the UK have risen by 5.5 per cent over the last 12 months, although the rise in London is even steeper, jumping by 12 per cent.

In fact, prices are rising by only 3.1 per cent in Britain, if London and the South East are removed from the calculation, the ONS said.

Of all property millionaires, six in ten are in London, including around 41,400 who live in the capital's smallest borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The report, by property website Zoopla, found that around 240,000 property millionaires are in London and around 82,600 are in the South East.

By comparison, there are only 1,043 in all of Wales, 1,814 in Yorkshire and the Humber and 2,574 in the North East.

Lawrence Hall, from Zoopla, said: 'There has been a hive of activity at the top-end of the market.'

Outside London, the highest proportion of property millionaires are in the affluent Surrey town of Virginia Water, where a third of houses are worth more than 1million.

Other property millionaire hotspots include the popular Buckinghamshire towns of Beaconsfield and Chalfont St Giles.

In the exclusive Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the average price of a home is now 1.2million.

A decade ago, the average price there was just 470,000, according to the Land Registry.

Peter Rollings, chief executive of the London-only estate agency Marsh & Parsons, said the property market in the capital 'dances to a different beat.' He said: 'Prices are rising at more than twice the speed of other regions.

'Prime London continues to be a magnet for both UK and overseas buyers, and demand for the best properties remains intense.

'We have recorded an average of 19 registered buyers per available property, and until levels of supply increase, property will continue to sell quickly, for close to, or for the asking price, and in many cases, in excess of the asking price.' There is more mortgage debt in South West London than in the whole of Wales, according to the first-ever analysis of mortgages by postcodes in the UK.

In south west London, which includes areas such as Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Balham, Earlsfield and Clapham, homeowners are burdened with a total mortgage debt of 29.2billion. By comparison, homeowners in Wales have a total mortgage debt of 28.5billion, according to the research by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the British Bankers' Association. It highlights the extroadinary gulf between house prices in London and the rest of the country.

The average house price in Wales is 164,000, which is one of the cheapest places to buy, compared with 437,000 in London.

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