It seems very strange to be talking about the market for homes costing in excess of £1 million but there still seems to be a market for such housing in the UK, although after the battering many investors will have taken in the stock market today, how long remains to be see.
It does not take a rocket scientist to guess that the most million pound homes are situated in London but can you even hazard a guess as to where the millionaires are looking outside of London, where the money is going?
A report by Savills, the upmarket estate agents, has pinpointed some of the new and exciting areas of the UK as well as a few old favourites. The figures below relate to the number of Savills customers looking to purchase properties with a value of over £1 million as a percentage of all property enquiries in the region.
1. London 31.4%
2. Oxfordshire 16.5%
3. Surrey 15.0%
4. Buckinghamshire 13.3%
5. Berkshire 13.0%
6. Hertfordshire 11.7%
7. Hampshire 11.4%
8. Dorset 11.4%
9. Wiltshire 10.8%
10. Somerset 10.3%
11. Gloucestershire 9.5%
12. Kent 9.1%
13. West Sussex 7.7%
14. South Gloucestershire 9.5%
15. Bristol 7.2%
16. West Midlands 7.1%
17. Cambridgeshire 6.9%
18. East Sussex 6.8%
19. Devon 6.65%
20. Essex 5.8%
Interestingly when looking a little closer at exactly what you get for your £1+ million it appears that you can get between 5.11 bedrooms and 5.34 bedrooms in the south-west with between 3,150sqft and 3,594sqft compared to 6.47 bedroom and 5,520sqft in Scotland. So it looks as though Scotland may well be the next target for the millionaire property buyers!
What does this show us?
One interesting fact which the above figures show us is that while London is still the place for the rich and famous, the billionaires and those with large bank balances, more and more people are willing to commute longer distance to work. Indeed we may actually be looking at a new breed of millionaire property owners who actually work from home?
If we were to pinpoint one area which was missing from the list unexpectedly it would be Cheshire in the north-west of England. For many years it has been the place of choice for many celebrities and business people and is renowned as the county in the UK which has the greatest appetite for champagne – the fuel of the rich and famous!
Can the location of your office really make a difference?
While you could argue that the road transport network of the UK is much better than it was just a decade ago and you could argue that public transport is much better there is an argument that the onset of the internet and closed networks has very much opened up the property markets of the UK. If you could work from home would you be living on the doorstep of your base office?
More and more people are working from a variety of bases, maybe spending a couple of days a week in the office, the rest at home and some time on the road visiting clients. The rail network into and out of London, where the crux of the high finance world still remains, is often criticised but it is far better than it ever has been.
Is this a trend which will continue?
As the big city financiers can work away from the office it looks as though the trend for working outside of London will continue. When you also consider the difference in what a million pounds can buy you in the south-west of the England compared to Scotland there may even been an argument for the vibrant cities of Glasgow and especially Edinburgh become a more prominent part of the lucrative property scene.
When you also take into account the standard of living, amenities and quality or schools which are now available outside of London there is every chance that we may see new property hot spots appear further and further away from the English capital. While many of the rich and famous appreciate and enjoy the vibrant London scene there are as many who like to relax on their time away from the office.
Which areas will suffer most if the property slowdown continues?
Aside from the obvious, which is London, it is highly likely that the areas which will suffer most will be a straight top down approach to the list. However, it could be fairly slow to filter all of the way down the list bearing in mind the large difference in what you are able to buy and the cost of living in the different areas.
The commuter’s corridor which includes the likes of Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire is likely to be one of the first areas to suffer as the doom and gloom slowly spreads out of London. The new money pouring into Oxfordshire is also at risk as there will no doubt be property buyers who have overstretched themselves and will be feeling more pain the longer the credit crunch and economic slowdown goes on.
As the standard of living across the UK continued to rise prior to the current economic slowdown it was obvious that the number of £1 million properties across the country would increase. However, we have also seen an increase in the number of people prepared to work from home, in remote offices and away from the traditional finance centres of the UK. In many instances this has been made possible by the development of the internet which has not only touched everyday life but also revolutionised the business arena.
While in the past we saw the big money homes in London and very small pockets around the UK, the list above shows that this narrow corridor in and around London has expanded. The emergence of areas such as Scotland, with Edinburgh in particular pushing ahead, is a reflection of the ever changing face of business and the continued move away from the City.