Londoners rush to sell after market for £1m homes slumps to two-year low

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The Independent Online

Wealthy Londoners are rushing to sell their homes, fearful that a slump in £1m-plus purchases heralds a collapse in the market.

Wealthy Londoners are rushing to sell their homes, fearful that a slump in £1m-plus purchases heralds a collapse in the market.

Sales of properties valued at £1m or more have fallen to their lowest level in two years and the stock of unsold homes at one upmarket estate agent has risen by almost a half compared with a year ago. Hamptons International said properties on offer in London were 46 per cent up on a year ago when the capital was enjoying a housing boom.

The rush to sell coincides with official figures showing a slump in demand for luxury homes. The Land Registry reveals that just over 300 homes worth more than £1m were sold in London in the first three months of the year. This compares with the 628 that changed hands in the autumn of last year during a national boom in which almost 1,000 homes – a record number –were sold for a seven-figure sum. This year's sales were at their lowest since the first quarter of 2001, when 274 homes sold for £1m-plus. Prices for such properties fell by 12-15 per cent over the same period and the number of prospective buyers dropped by a third.

Figures on countrylife.co.uk, the website of the magazine for the rural gentry, show demand has switched to properties valued at less than £1m. It said responses to its website showed that homes with a guide price of £900,000 generated the highest number of inquiries, compared with homes of £1.75m at the same time last year. The website said the impact of job losses in the City and cuts in bonuses paid to the remaining workers had been felt outside the capital.

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