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Princely house price rise during Queen’s reign

Princely house price rise during Queen’s reign

Category: Economy

Updated: 28/05/2012
First Published: 28/05/2012

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

As the Queen celebrates 60 years on the throne, research has revealed the dramatic changes that have occurred in the housing market during her reign.

Over the last 60 years, house prices in the UK have increased by an average of 186% in real terms – from £2,200 in 1951 to £162,338 in 2011, according to Halifax.

The worst performing decade was the 1950s when house prices declined by 7% in real terms, while in the 1980s they recorded their biggest rise; 42% between 1981 and 1991.

Figures also show that the number of homes being built in the UK has fallen by one third, from 201,860 per year in 1951 to 137,000 in 2011. A key driver of this was the 81% drop in the volume of public sector housing being built over the last 60 years.

Living conditions have improved considerably; in 1947 more than four in ten (42%) households lacked a fixed bath or shower, but by 1991 this had fallen to just three in a thousand (0.3%). In 1947, nearly two in three (64%) households were without hot water; by 1991 this proportion had fallen to one in a hundred (1%).

Home ownership has more than doubled, from 32% of all households in England in 1953 to 66% in 2010-2011. Influencing this was the introduction of the Right to Buy scheme in the 1980s, which boosted owner-occupation from 57% to 68% between 1981 and 1991.

"The UK housing market has undergone some extraordinary changes over the last 60 years, reflecting the changing way we live our lives. Today, the typical UK household is very different compared with the 1950s following the substantial growth in home ownership and the shift towards single occupancy households," said Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax.

"The quality of our homes has improved markedly. House prices, however, have become prone to pronounced swings over the past 40 years and the rapid decline in the number of homes being built since the 1950s has contributed to the demand-supply imbalance that has characterised the UK housing market in recent years.

"This is likely to continue to play an important role in determining the landscape of the UK housing market over the coming years."

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