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Time travelling through house prices

  1. 08 December 2017
  2. By Andi Michael

Today is ‘pretend to be a time traveller day’, and to honour this frankly strange idea, we have decided to do some time travelling of our own, by popping back in time to see how much the average cost of a house was throughout the last century. Strap yourself in to your Tardis, things are about to get depressing.

1917 – 

Average house price: £15,249
Average annual salary: £7,901

In 1917 World War One was still ongoing, and the average wage was just under £8k. This meant a home was less than double your yearly salary.

1937 –

Average house price: £32,423
Average annual salary: £10,114

In 1937 The Dandy was first published, 999 emergency number was created, and a yearly salary was about £10,114, making a house about 3 times an income.

1967 –

Average house price: £61,186
Average annual salary: £13,921

Thirty years later in 1967, everyone was dancing to Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, and the average wage was £13,921. This made a property 4.3 times an income.

1987 –

Average house price: £192,438
Average annual salary: £21,571

Twenty years after that, both wages and property took a fairly large jump. The average yearly wage was £21,571, meaning that an average house price was 9 times that. We’re starting to see more where our current house price to wage ratio started.

1997 –

Average house price: £144,289
Average annual salary: £24,280

In 1997, the UK won the Eurovision song contest, and Harry Potter was first introduced to children around the world. Our national average wage increased a little in 10 years, and yet house prices were lower, making them more affordable.


Average house price: £368,103
Average annual salary: £29,104

We reached the Millennium – 2007 did not bring hoverboards and flying cars, but it did bring an increase in the national average wage, up to £29,104. House prices more than doubled from the previous decade, meaning that a home was around 12 times an average wage. Ouch.

With the news that the average London home costs 14.5 times more than the average wage, it’s become clear that we are living in unusual times. However, whilst it’s easy to become nostalgic, these modern times allow us a whole host of joyful additions to make life easier. From Wi-Fi to mobile phone apps, even the way we choose and buy our houses has changed. As more services, like conveyancing, surveys and even the Land Registry are now taking advantage of technology to streamline the house buying process, we should see it becoming easier to purchase property. Whether it will be affordable is another matter.
If that hasn’t made you want to put down the flux capacitor…

Recent (terrifying) data has become available allowing us to predict the average deposit on a house in 2022 will be £65,930, and by 2027 it will be £81,468. This would be a 28% deposit. Worse than that, it seems that the cost of a deposit in London will increase by 75%, meaning that in 2027 those looking to buy in London would need to cough up a painful £244,842. Almost a quarter of a million pounds for a deposit makes the first time buyer Stamp Duty exemption look a little meagre in comparison.
What era would you go back to if you were a time traveller? Do you think the deposit predictions are correct? Which decade would you buy a home in, and where would it be?

The information on past prices was found using Hillary’s ‘Back in My Day’ generator.


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