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The number of million-pound house sales across Britain was 12% higher during the first half of 2016 than during the same period a year earlier, a report has found.

But average top-end property is selling for less money than it was a couple of years ago, according to the findings from Lloyds Bank.

Some 6,684 homes were sold for at least £1 million during the first six months of 2016, marking a 12% increase on the 5,946 homes in this bracket which were sold in the first half of 2015.

The average home selling for over £1 million goes for £1,727,327 – less than the average selling price of £1,862,578 in the first half of 2014. Lloyds said the price drop is partly due to a drop-off in sales at the very top of the market over the last two years.

Stamp duty changes introduced in late 2014 made the tax cheaper for 98% of home buyers – but more expensive for people buying homes at the top end of the market. The tipping point at which the tax became more expensive was if a home was worth more than £937,500.

There have been some suggestions that the tax changes have placed a ceiling on the amounts buyers are willing to pay.

With big variations in house prices across the country, the research also found more homes were sold for at least £1 million in Stratford-on-Avon in the first half of the year than were sold for this price across the whole of Wales.

Some 16 homes in this price bracket were sold in Stratford-on-Avon, compared with 13 across Wales.

The pockets of million-pound property sales taking place in the first half of this year include 47 sales in Edinburgh, 31 in Trafford, 29 in Cheshire East and 10 in Harrogate.

But most of these sales take place in London. Around 8% of all million-pound property sales take place in Kensington and Chelsea alone, and another 8% take place in Westminster.

Virginia Water in Surrey was identified as Britain’s only “million-pound town”. The average house price in Britain’s most expensive town outside London is £1,082,286.

In the first half of 2015, there had been three million-pound towns, with Cobham and Beaconsfield joining Virginia Water. But average house prices in both Cobham and Beaconsfield have now dropped back below the £1 million mark, Lloyds said.

Scotland is the only part of Britain where sales of million-pound properties have fallen over the last year, seeing a decline of a third (33%).

Here are the numbers of million-pound property sales across Britain in the first half of 2016, and the percentage change compared with the first half of 2015, according to Lloyds Bank:

:: North East, 11, 83%

:: North West, 85, 35%

:: Yorkshire and the Humber, 38, 46%

:: East Midlands, 33, 3%

:: West Midlands, 61, 24%

:: East of England, 549, 30%

:: London, 4,238, 8%

:: South East, 1,306, 19%

:: South West, 269, 49%

:: Wales, 13, 44%

:: Scotland, 81, minus 33%



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