A NEW “property millionaire” was created almost every day in the North East last year, pushing the number in the region above 2,000 for the first time.
The region is still among those in the UK with the smallest number of million-pound homes, according to a study by property website Zoopla.
According to the data, last year there were 2,082 people across the North East who owned properties valued at more than £1m, which was an increase of 338 on 2011.
Only Yorkshire and the Humber, the East Midlands and Wales had fewer.
London, predictably, topped the table of property millionaires – with 182,583 – followed by the South East and South West of England.
There are now estimated to be around 300,000 people in the United Kingdom who own properties worth at least £1m, which is up almost a fifth on last year.
Douglas Young, managing director of Sanderson Young estate agents, which specialises in high-end properties in the North East, said he was not surprised by the region’s low ranking.
“A hundred-or-so years ago we were coal miners, shipbuilders, steel workers,” he said.
“Unless you owned the business, you probably wouldn’t have had the sort of house that would be worth millions of pounds now. We don’t have embassies like they would have done in other parts of the country.”
But Mr Young said he did not envy estate agents in London who regularly dealt with higher-value properties.
He said: “I see the results of the survey as a positive. We would be a completely different type of region if we had a market like London.
“The fact that we’re more undiscovered means we’re protected from a great deal of wealth, and we don’t have these massive divides between rich and poor.”
He added that 2,082 property millionaires was still a “substantial figure” for the region. Homes in certain suburbs of Newcastle, Durham and parts of the Tyne Valley would often sell for seven-figure sums, he said.
According to data previously released by Zoopla, the area with the most expensive properties in Northumberland is Gubeon Wood, Morpeth, with an average property price of £1,441,261.
London’s Kensington was the most expensive part of the UK to buy property, with an average house price of £2.2m. Almost two thirds of properties located there were valued at more than a million pounds.
Lawrence Hall, a spokesman for zoopla.co.uk, said the 19% national increase in property millionaires showed the top end of the market operated in a largely isolated economic sphere.
“Wealthier buyers are relatively impervious to the economic problems affecting the rest of the market, most notably when it comes to getting a mortgage,” he said. “Foreign buyers in particular have gravitated towards top-end property in London over the last few years, which has pushed up demand and prices on more expensive property.”