More than 300,000 in million-pound homes

The number of property millionaires in Britain has soared by almost a fifth year-on-year despite the housing market's continued difficulties, a study has found.

There are now estimated to be more than 300,000 property millionaires in Britain, a 19 per cent annual increase, according to the property search website Zoopla.

Relatively strong price growth in London and the South-East helped to push the value of a further 47,024 properties above £1m during 2012, bringing the total to 300,142, the study found.

This was despite Nationwide building society reporting that house prices fell by 0.1 per cent month-on-month in December and they are likely to remain flat or edge lower still during 2013.

House prices in England outperformed the rest of the UK in 2012, while Northern Ireland recorded falls of up to 10 per cent, Nationwide said yesterday.

The building society's study also found evidence that the north/south divide in England is widening, with the price of a typical home in the south now £95,000 more than in the north, representing a 2 per cent increase compared with the end of 2011.

Across the UK, the monthly decline meant that at £162,262 on average, prices dropped by 1 per cent in 2012, reversing a 1 per cent increase in 2011.

Sharp contrasts in the performance of the housing market were highlighted across the UK, with prices increasing by an average of 6 per cent in Cambridge but plummeting by 10 per cent across County Armagh and County Down and by 9 per cent in Bradford.

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