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A Royal Property Overview

Thursday, 21st April 2016

Categories: Sales Miscellaneous Property Prices

Author: Tony Ryan

The Queen (and the country) celebrates her 90th birthday today, 21st April. During the period since her birth in 1926 the UK has undergone incredible changes, not least in terms of property. From the rollercoaster ups and downs of interest rates, to the meteoric rise of purchase prices, the last 90 years have changed the way we buy, sell, view and finance our properties.

The 1920s
According to a report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the average cost of a large detached house in 1920 was just over £2,000. However, as post-war Britain struggled to return to some form of normalcy, it faced 10% unemployment and many people found it impossible to get on the property market. However, the archetypal Edwardian semis, which were built in their thousands during the period, remain a popular choice for housebuyers today. And, although the price tag has increased somewhat, an interest rate of around 6% in the 1920s meant disposable income was seriously diminished once the contract had been signed.

The 1960s and beyond
By the swinging 60s more people were able to scrape together the deposit to buy their own home and, although interest rates remained high, the desire to be a homeowner outweighed the sacrifices and more people jumped on the property ladder. In fact, according to a comprehensive analysis by the Halifax, between 1961 and 2008, UK house ownership increased from 43% to 68%. With hundreds of thousands of new houses being built in the 1960s, there was far greater choice and availability for the rush of new homeowners.

Post-1960 was also the beginning of serious house price increases, with the Halifax stating that the average annual rate of increase has been 2.7% – with pockets of extreme growth scattered through this timescale. However, this rapid rise in purchase prices meant that it became increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to enter the marketplace. Despite having healthy deposits – and enjoying the benefit of extremely low interest rates for the last eight years – they can’t keep pace with the rising prices.

As the Queen becomes a nonagenarian, Government initiatives strive to bring first-time buyers back into the mix, housebuilding is given a boost, and Mark Carney is keeping his cards close to his chest with regard to any imminent Bank of England base-rate rise. Who knows what the next 90 years has in store for the UK property market.