THE number of property sales worth at least a million pounds has risen to its highest level since the peak of the housing market in Scotland in 2008, according to new research by Bank of Scotland.
There were 60 million-pound property sales in Scotland in the first half of 2011. This is the largest total since 2008, when there was 90 and 22% higher than in the same period in 2010, when there was just 49.
Across the UK, million pound property sales have increased by 10% over the past year.
The 22% increase in million pound home sales in the first half of the year was in marked contrast to the 12% fall in residential property sales as a whole over the period.
Despite this notable outperformance, million pound sales continue to account for a very minor proportion of the Scottish housing market, representing just 0.2% of total sales in the first half of the year. Million pound sales account for only 1.1% of all sales in the UK.
There are now an estimated 3,300 homes in Scotland worth at least one million pounds.
In the first six months of 2011, Scotland recorded the second biggest percentage rise in million pound sales in the UK, after the North East of England where sales increased four-fold.
Nearly half of all the million pound homes sold in Scotland in the first six months of 2011 were in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh also recorded the highest number of million pound property sales outside southern England.
Overall, almost two-thirds of all million pound sales in the UK in the first six months of 2011 were in London.
Suren Thiru, Bank of Scotland housing economist, said: “The number of homes sold for at least a £1 million has increased significantly over the past year in marked contrast to the rather more subdued picture across the rest of the housing market.
“Strong demand from wealthy cash-rich buyers both in Scotland and further afield, as well as limited supply of such properties, has helped to boost the level of activity at the very top end of the housing market.”