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LONDON-The number of homes sold for more than £1 million has risen by a massive 76% according to figures just released. In the last three months, 516 properties were sold for seven figures, compared with 293 in the same period last year.

Statistics released by the Land Registry confirm the continuing boom in house prices across the country, with properties in the highest price bracket seen as a mark of consumer confidence. Repeated price rises are taking many properties, which at one stage were considered modest family homes, into a price bracket previously associated with the super rich.

The average price of a home in London and Wales has increased by £220 a week over the last year and now stands at £117,398. Property in London is now fetching a staggering average of £204,000, prompting the question how many young people working in the capital can possibly afford a home.

Although London boasts the highest average home price in the country, some of the steepest price rises have been seen elsewhere as formerly unpopular areas are now being considered highly desirable. East Midlands registered a 15.6% increase to an average price of £83,381 and the West Midlands 15% to £92,337.

Henry Holland-Hibbert a director of agency Lane Fox and head of its country house division, says, ‘No one ever thought much of the M1 corridor as somewhere to live but just look at what is going on around Bedfordshire, south Warwickshire and south Northants.’

One property that is about to add to the list of high priced homes changing hands is Ashcombe House on the Wiltshire and Dorset borders. Once the home of royal photographer Cecil Beaton, the six bedroom Georgian Manor House has reportedly had a £9 million offer made to marketing agent FPD Savills from Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie. The 1,000 acre property is thought to be just want Madonna wants as a rural retreat.

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