There are now more than 750,000 property millionaires in Britain, and in some towns in the south of England half of all homes cost more than £1m, according to analysis by website Zoopla.
Despite a slowing property market, Zoopla estimated that the number of property millionaires has climbed to 768,553, a rise of 23% since August 2016.
The figures underscore the hugely lopsided nature of the UK property market. Yorkshire and Humberside has 4,103 property millionaires, and Wales 2,223, while in London the figure is 430,720.
The figures suggest that while one in 20 people in the capital are paper property millionaires, the same can be said for only one in every 1,400 people in Wales. Zoopla did not take into account the mortgage debt attaching to properties, just the number of properties valued at over £1m.
Outside London, Guildford in Surrey is the town with the most property millionaires, estimated at 5,889, followed by Cambridge and Reading.
But Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire emerges as having the greatest concentration of property wealth in just one town. Zoopla found that 49% of all the houses in the town of 12,000 people nestled below the Chiltern Hills are valued at more than £1m.
Agents in the town – dubbed Mayfair in the Chilterns – are currently marketing an opulent six-bed home in Beaconsfield’s “golden triangle” for £6m, boasting a cinema, wine-tasting room and its own six-person smoke-mirrored passenger lift opening on to a galleried balcony with a “Sexy Crystals” chandelier. There is a separate annexe for staff.
TV chef Mary Berry is currently trying to sell her 5,000 sq ft Queen Anne-style £3.85m home on the edge of Beaconsfield, which has been on the market with agents Savills since last October. The four-acre (1.6 hectare) estate includes a pond, tennis court, herb garden, kitchen garden and “exceptional views towards Windsor and Ascot”.
Only Westminster boasts a higher proportion of homes above £1m, with 58% of homes in the borough priced at above £1m.
Local agent Roger Mead of the Frost Partnership says Beaconsfield has boomed in the last 10 years, with many Londoners selling up and seeking homes in the town in the £1m-£1.5m price band.
“Many of the pubs have become gastro pubs, there are great restaurants and state schools and the fastest train to London is just 23 minutes. There is barely a single shop on the high street that’s vacant. But the nice thing about it is that it’s still relatively normal. It’s not ridiculously posh.”
But the number of UK property millionaires is likely to flatline or fall, if current trends in the property market continue.
House prices fell for a second consecutive month in January as consumers struggling with shrinking disposable income put major spending decisions on hold.
The average price of a home in Britain fell 0.6% last month to £223,285, according to mortgage lender Halifax. It followed a 0.8% drop in prices in December, and drove down annual house price growth to 2.2%, the slowest rate in six months.
Source: The Guardian