Diary of a high street conveyancer; 6th June 2022

Celebrating the Jubilee has made me think about house prices over the last seventy years. I always think it is difficult to comprehend the difference in prices over years as the value of money and assets changes so much.

I often tell my children that when I was their age, I could buy a packet of polos and two penny chews in the school tuck shop for five pence. Whenever, I mention it, I feel like a character in a Monty Python sketch that I remember some class mates acting in the School Fifth Year Review, my first experience of Monty Python being the hole in the ground sketch, ah, when I were a lad …

So I have been looking at average house prices

1952 (Coronation)                   –           £1,891.00

1977 (Silver Jubilee)                –           £12,689.00

2002 (Golden Jubilee)             –          £103,501.00

2012 (Diamond Jubilee)          –           £164,955.00

2022 (Platinum Jubilee)           –          £260,771.00

The latest figures show that today’s prices are 139 times more than the 1952 prices.

A Hansards report from 1952 shows that there was a housing crisis in 1952 and many factors were given such as families no longer wanting to share houses and in particular people wanting to move for labour. The report is fascinating; there is talk of houses being built more cheaply to allow materials to be spread over a larger number of houses; whether there should be a second toilet;  the possibility that a tenant should be able to buy his Council house (and this was long before the Right to Buy scheme which Margaret Thatcher promoted); the separation of the idea that health and housing are linked. But we have seen mortgages being more available and, on the other side, inadequate new housing stock even now seventy years later. The problems are still the same as they were seventy years ago even though living standards are higher.

But, the positive side of this is that it does show that the housing market is strong and continues to be so, and that property accounts for most of the overall assets of many people.  This shows that investing in a home pays off over the long term and however difficult it is to take that first step onto the property ladder, it is the biggest investment most people make.

Different generations have different views about the growth in house prices and, dealing with the public buying and selling houses, we as conveyancers have a ring side seat to what the public think about the housing market  – the division between those who can afford to buy easily and those who have been saving for many years; the increase in the amount that can be borrowed; the incentives that successive Governments have introduced to keep the market alive.

For all of our discussions about additional enquiries and issues with keys on completion, we must remember that we are a significant cog in the forever turning housing market. Ensuring that the lender and public are protected when buying/lending on the biggest investment to be made. Think about that and raise a glass this Bank Holiday weekend to all conveyancers  – I hope you all enjoyed a well-deserved rest.

This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.

Want to have your say? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more stories

Join nearly 5,000 other practitioners – sign up to our free newsletter

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.

Features