Britain's first 'million pound towns'

By Brian Milligan
Personal Finance reporter

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionLeafy Virginia Water is the most expensive town outside London

One has a golf course that charges £125,000 to become a member, and the other has a post office said to stock bottles of Bollinger and Dom Perignon.

The towns of Virginia Water and Cobham, in Surrey, have become Britain's first million pound towns - where average house prices are more than £1m.

Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire is also in the millionaire's club, according to research by Lloyds Bank.

They are the first towns outside London where prices have hit seven figures.

The research was based on data from the Land Registry for the first half of 2015.

Prices in Virginia Water - home to the likes of Sir Cliff Richard and Sir Bruce Forsyth - average no less than £1.169m, making it Britain's most expensive town outside the capital.

No wonder that the town's famous golf course, Wentworth, feels able to charge joining fees of £125,000. That is on top of the annual membership fee of £16,000.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionCobham is the second most expensive town in the UK

Stamp duty

Cobham - familiar to Chelsea footballers and their WAGS - has average prices of £1.043m.

And anyone wanting to buy in Beaconsfield can expect to pay £1.003m.

"We're seeing the emergence of towns where the average price is at least £1 million," said Sarah Deaves, private banking director at Lloyds Bank.

"Whilst there are several London neighbourhoods where prices are already at this elevated level, outside of the capital this is a first."

However the figures also show a sharp slow-down in the number of homes sold for more than £1m.

In the first half of 2015 there were 5,599 such sales, down from 6,303 in 2014. That amounts to an 11% fall.

One reason for that is the change in Stamp Duty rates, introduced in England and Wales in December 2014.

The buyer of a £1m house will now pay £43,750 in Stamp Duty, up from £40,000 previously.

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