New research by the Halifax has revealed a slight fall in the number of million pound properties sold in the first six months of 2003 from 1,212 to 1,181, 3% down on the same period for 2002. The figures show that overall 12,168 of these properties have been sold in England and Wales since 1995.

Looking at sales in the 377 local authority districts of England and Wales found that, unsurprisingly, London dominated the market, with Kensington and Chelsea, City of Westminster and Camden making up 45% of all £1m plus sales since 1995.

The research also highlighted the rapid rise of top end properties in the north over the past 18 months, albeit from a very low base.

Although the increase in the number of million pound properties is measured from a low base, regionally it was Yorkshire and the Humber which saw the largest percentage increase in sales of £1m properties, recording a 250% increase. The West Midlands saw a 183% increase in sales on the corresponding period in 2002.

Halifax Group economist Martin Ellis said: ‘Although million pound properties still represent a very small part of the overall housing market the general rise in house prices over the past few years has had a knock on effect on properties at the top end of the scale.

‘The Million pound ‘ripple effect’ is now reaching the north of England highlighting the fact that 2003 is undoubtedly the year of the north.’