How Britain’s Property Market has changed in the last 40 years

The UK property market has evolved over the years in a number of ways, from the quality of the housing and social trends, to the tenure of the households, as well as the volume and prices of properties available.


Firstly, let’s look at how the quality of housing has improved. Pre-1960, it was considered a luxury to have an indoor toilet. Today it is a given, and between 1960 and 1996 the number of properties without an indoor toilet fell over 10%.

A constant supply of hot water is now seen as a necessity, and as it became a desired and required household facility, those properties without such a supply dropped by over 20% between 1967 and 1991. Lastly, most of us take for granted the power of central heating, which wasn’t always the case. In the 1970s, only 35% of households had such luxury, whereas it had leapt up to 92% in 2000.

The past 40 years has also seen an increase in the number of single-person households. Whilst married households are still the most common, the proportion compared to single had dropped by nearly 30% in 2009. There is a growing trend in detached properties as opposed to semidetached, accounting for more than 35% of the housing stock constructed after 1980.

Housing costs

One of the biggest and most noticeable changes within the housing market over the years is property prices, with the average UK value rising from £2,507 in 1959 to £162,085 in 2009. Homes have in fact increased in price at a rate faster than the average earnings.

The 1990s saw a decline in prices of 22%, but then a massive 62% increase in the 2000s as lenders had more relaxed lending criteria. They also had less regulation to adhere to, which was a potential factor in the financial crisis, which saw the Financial Services Authority (now the Financial Conduct Authority) impose regulation and affordability requirements on lenders to make that sure they were lending responsibly.

Who owns the home?

The Right to Buy scheme that was introduced by the Government in the ‘80s supported a rise in owner occupancy of 25%, with a drop in the rental sector of almost 20%.

Despite a growing population, the number of properties being built has fallen slightly over the years. Nearly 157,000 properties were built in 2009, 44% less than 1959. The dramatic decrease over the decades has been led by a fall in public sector completions. The 80s also saw the government reduce local authority buildings. However, the replacement housing associations have yet to increase sufficiently to balance.


From 2010, we have continued to see changes. Those on the property ladder have experienced and benefited from the all-time low 0.5% Bank of England base rate. In the wake of the financial crisis, the newly formed Financial Conduct Authority completed a Mortgage https://www.beaconfinancialtraining.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/cemap-online-and-classroom-training-uk.jpget Review, which has led to the implementation of further regulations and stricter affordability criteria.

It is felt that as it has become harder to borrow capital, house prices may start to slowly come down once more. As life evolves and changes are instilled, there no doubt will be further developments within the property market, many of which cannot currently be predicted.



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