Scotland is the only part of Britain where sales of million-pound properties fell over the last year, new figures show.
The Bank of Scotland’s latest Million Pound Property Report released today reveals sales in the first half of this year for this prime market were a third lower than in the first six months of 2015.
A total of 81 properties worth a million pounds were bought in the first half of 2016 – down from 120 across the same timescale the previous year – in contrast to a 12 per cent increase across Britain.
Although Edinburgh had by far the highest number of million pound homes in Scotland – with 50 sales in the first half of this year – making up 62 per cent of all Scottish million pound sales, this was down 17 per cent compared to the first six months of 2015.
Graham Blair, the bank’s mortgage director, said: “The fall in transactions at the top end of the market could be as a result of combination of political and economic issues which include lower oil prices, changes to the Land and Property Transaction Tax as well as uncertainty ahead of the EU referendum.
“Stirling, Fife and Moray were the only Scottish regions to see an increase in sales over one million pounds, while Edinburgh, East Lothian and Aberdeen saw the largest declines.
“Although we had a dip in prime market sale, Scotland did see the highest rise in sales across all properties, recording a 9 per cent rise compared to a 2 per cent increase in Great Britain as a whole.”
In Stirling million-pound sales went from zero to four, in Fife they increased from three to four, and Moray had one such sale, up from zero. The largest increase in sales was in the north-east of England with a rise of 83 per cent with six sales in the first half of 2015 increasing to 11 in 2016.
However, the majority of £1m plus sales – 91 per cent – were in London, the south-east and east of England.
The London sales were centred round Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster.
Scotland’s “sluggish” economy was cited last month by David Bell, professor of economics at the University of Stirling, after data from the Registers of Scotland showed house prices were rising at around half the rate they were UK-wide.
Prices in Scotland rose by 4.3 per cent over the 12 months to August, while the UK average was 8.4 per cent.
Prof Bell said Scotland’s oil industry was a contributory factor, the Scottish economy has taken longer to recover from the recession, and that Scotland’s housing market was displaying “caution” after the EU referendum.