St Albans district is hotspot for £1m homes

This Sandpit Lane property recently sold for £1.45 million

This Sandpit Lane property recently sold for £1.45 million

Archant

Dreams of owning a £1 million home are becoming a reality for a record number of St Albans district dwellers.

A new survey has revealed that more £1 million-plus pads are sold in the district than in the whole of Scotland, Wales and the north east of England put together.

In the first half of 2014, 66 £1 million plus homes exchanged hands, compared to 43 in Scotland, 15 in the north east, and seven in Wales.

A report issued by Lloyds Bank revealed a 41 per cent increase of £1 million-plus homes sold in the south east for the first half of 2014, compared to the same time last year.

Jonathan Searles, property manager at Ashtons Estate Agents, said: “It is becoming more and more obvious why St Albans is a desirable area to live.

“It has such close proximity to London with fast rail links, decent sized houses, excellent schools and quite frankly it’s the best area for families to be in terms of activities and facilities.

“Of course, there has been so much positive media attention too, and so that fuels the desire to live here.

“St Albans goes above and beyond in terms of a London commuter town and there is nowhere better north of the river. That, and it has such huge diversity of people.”

Rozanne Edwards, head of estate agency at Strutt and Parker, said: “It’s all down to what St Albans offers and there are certain areas that could easily command £1 million.

“Areas with the post code AL14 and AL34 are among these, as they have such close proximity to the station and good schools.

“St Albans has the best of both worlds - only 19 minutes away from central London, yet full of historic countryside.”

Kevin Hunt, branch manager for William H Brown estate agents said: “St Albans has a lot to offer home buyers and its popularity pushes up prices making it one of the UK’s more expensive locations to buy property.

“Exceptionally good schools, easy access to London via train as well as being close to the M25, M1 and Heathrow Airport, all contribute to its desirability, as well as some of the beautiful properties on offer.

“We also see a high proportion of buyers priced out of the London market moving out to St Albans as well as Londoners who are looking for a less urban lifestyle and those looking to bring up children outside of the capital. All these factors 
play a part in pushing up house prices.”

The recently announced statistics mark a property turnaround, as the same time period in 2009 saw 1,382 £1 million plus homes sold across the UK, compared to 6,143 this year. This equates to 33 a day or more than one an hour.

Despite this, homes worth upwards of £1 million only make up 1.3 per cent of all national residential sales, which are mostly concentrated in the south.

Sarah Deaves, private banking director at Lloyds Bank said: “The number of homes sold for at least £1 million is at a record high.

“Property values in prime locations have been boosted by growing demand from wealthy, and often cash rich buyers from the UK and overseas, as well as limited supply of such properties.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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