There were 2,992 million pound property sales in Great Britain in the first six months of 2010; 118% higher than in the same period last year. This compared with a 27% increase in total house sales over the same period.

The Halifax Million Pound Property Report tracks all residential property sales of at least £1 million in Great Britain using data from the Land Registry and Registers of Scotland. However, the Land Registry does not record the sale of all country houses above this price bracket as those which might have a commercial elements – with names such as farmhouse and manor farmhouse – will not be included in the figures.

There are an estimated 170,000 homes in Britain that are worth at least one million pounds.

However, the number of million pound properties sold in the first half of the year was 18% lower than in the same period in 2007 following a 63% decline between the first halves of 2007 and 2009.

While million pound sales continue to represent a very small proportion of the total market in Britain, the share of all sales has risen from 0.5% in the first half of 2009 to 0.9% in the first six months of 2010.

London unsurprisingly has the highest proportion of million pound sales, at 4.5%.

Martin Ellis, Halifax Housing Economist, says: ‘The sizeable rise in the number of million pound properties sold over the past year has been driven by a small number of London neighbourhoods that continue to account for the vast majority of £1 million sales. The increase reflects both strong demand from wealthy foreign buyers looking to benefit from the weakness in sterling and the relatively strong performance of the housing market in London and the South East over the past year.’