Scotland overtakes London as fastest million-pound market as capital loses share

  • Scotland has overtaken London as the fastest-moving market for million-pound properties, with homes finding a buyer 25 days quicker on average than before the pandemic
  • London has seen a 7% drop in its overall share of total million pound sales across Great Britain, with 40% taking place in the capital over the past year compared with 47% before the pandemic:
    • The South East has recorded the biggest rise in share over the past year
    • Wales has seen the biggest increase in the number of sales being agreed for million pound homes, more than doubling (+164%) since before the pandemic
    • Stockbridge tops list of areas seeing the biggest rise in the proportion of stock selling for above a million pounds, up from 11% of homes pre-pandemic to 26% now
  • Thames Ditton leads the way as the fastest moving area for million-pound homes outside London

A new million pound market study from the UK’s biggest property website Rightmove shows that Scotland has overtaken London as the fastest moving market for million-pound properties, with homes finding a buyer in 61 days on average, 25 days quicker than before the pandemic.

The analysis looked at the year before the pandemic with the year since the market re-opened to measure current prime market behaviour against pre-pandemic levels.

Over the past year million pound homes have taken an average of 67 days in London to find a buyer, which although still quicker than before the pandemic, shifts the capital from being the fastest-selling region into fifth position, behind Scotland, East of England, South East and the East Midlands.

The numbers also reveal that London has seen a drop in its overall share of the total million-pound sales market, with 40% of million pound sales now taking place in the capital, compared with 47% before the pandemic.

The data suggests that London’s overall influence on the prime market has dropped slightly, likely driven by buyers in the prime market prioritising more space and being able to consider working from home when choosing their next property.

The South East has recorded the biggest increase in the share of million pound homes across Great Britain, rising from 26% to 29%.

Across Great Britain the increase in the number of million pounds homes that are selling is up 80% on pre-pandemic levels, compared with an overall increase across all property sales of 37%.

Wales has seen the biggest increase in the number of sales being agreed for million pound homes, more than doubling (164%) since before the pandemic, although their million pound sales make up just 0.6% of all those taking place across Great Britain.

At a local level there are some significant changes. Stockbridge in Hampshire has seen the biggest rise in the proportion of homes that are selling for a million pounds or over. The percentage of all sales in the area that are worth one million pounds and above has jumped from 11% to 26% now.

The fastest-moving area is Thames Ditton where million pounds homes have found a buyer in just 26 days.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Director of Property Data comments: “Prime sales growth has outperformed the wider market over the past year, as many people across Great Britain have chosen to take a step up the property ladder, potentially moving further out to afford a bigger property, or finally making the move to their forever home. Whilst London is still home to a significant portion of the prime market, some millionaire movers have turned their city commute into a rural route. These dynamics have helped push swathes of the UK’s property stock into the higher price brackets, and have led to a broader geographical spread of million-pound properties.”

Agents’ Views

Dr John Boyle, Director at Rettie & Co in Scotland said: “The Scottish £1m market has proven to be resilient in the face of the pandemic. Just like the wider housing market here, demand has been moving well ahead of supply, leading to price rises and fast-moving sales. The market is particularly strong in the east of the country, with Edinburgh alone accounting for well over half of all Scottish £1m sales. However, other areas are seeing rising £1m sales, particularly in outlying areas of the wider Lothians market, with sales outside Edinburgh notably higher in the east compared with recent years.”

James Wyatt, Director at Barton Wyatt in Virginia Water, said: “Virginia Water has for many years been a ‘jewel in the Crown’ of the Home Counties when it comes to property sales. The 1750-acre Wentworth Estate is well known for its very high value homes of up to £30m. During 2020 we saw many UK buyers and tenants moving out of London, keeping us busy. In 2021 we have seen no let up, but now also have seen the return of international buyers. It is curious that – quite against our expectations – the pandemic has created a market like we’ve never seen”.

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