One remarkable report, for example, has found that average house prices across the UK are an astounding 130 times higher in 2022 than they were at the time of the monarch’s accession in 1952.
What factors are behind such a steep rise in UK property values?
Just in case you’re thinking inflation must be to blame for a lot of that increase – it is, after all, a hot topic in 2022 – it turns out that according to the data, it has only fuelled a small percentage of the general UK house-price increases over the last seven decades.
As reported by Country Life, the statistics show that the average price of a UK property was a mere £2,000 in 1952 – and if property values had simply increased in line with inflation during the intervening period, a house today would cost £56,000 on average.
Instead, the typical house buyer this year can expect to be charged over £260,000, which equates to nearly five times more than the 1952 figure in real terms.
Other observers may be tempted to point to the growth in the UK population since 1952 – but again, the increase that has occurred doesn’t match up to the breathtaking rise in house prices over the same bracket of time. The UK population has gone up from slightly higher than 50.5 million in 1952, to a shade over 68 million, which is an increase of just over one third.
So, what has driven up home prices so drastically?
According to one real-estate expert quoted by Country Life, the stellar rise can be largely attributed to six extended spells during the Queen’s reign that saw yearly house-price growth average more than 5% above inflation.
Although the last 70 years have also seen times of falling property values, those drops have never reversed the longer-term trend of real-terms growth.
The expert in question said that “while this [period] has been punctuated by a series of relatively short-lived, but uncomfortable, downturns, the upswings have been magnified by a systematic undersupply of housing over the last 40 years.”
They pointed to the 1980s as an especially significant period, this time seeing the introduction of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ legislation, which enabled council-house tenants to purchase their home from the state at a discounted rate. This period saw an astonishing 79% increase in house prices, even after accounting for inflation.
In more recent times, house-price rises have been even more dramatic than that. The period from 1995 to 2007, for example, saw a whopping 173% real-terms increase in property prices in the UK, and although the late 2000s global economic slowdown instigated a ‘correction’ to prices, there have been further significant increases since then.
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