Bring back Thatcher property prices


Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady

Thatcher fever is gripping the country thanks to the latest British box office hit, The Iron Lady. But if only property prices were the same as during the pioneering female Prime Minister’s reign.

On the first year of the Thatcher government (1979) a first time buyer could get on the London property ladder for £25,000 and £1 million bought a 2,000 acre country estate.

According to the Jackson-Stops & Staff ( archive, wealthy commuters could buy a good six bedroom family home in the stockbroker belt of Surrey with an acre of garden for £250,000 – today it would cost more than £2 million.

However, the grass wasn’t completely green. In 1979, mortgage loans would not be considered for anything more than two and a half times a person’s salary and mainly came from building societies. Only a few years earlier women would have needed to get their father’s or husband’s consent to get a mortgage in their own name.

So what overall effect did Thatcher have on the property market?

Dawn Carritt, director of the London country house department of Jackson-Stops & Staff said: “House prices held despite the economic constraints, though prices did fall in the early 1980s.  The Iron Lady’s corrective medicine may have been tough to swallow for all, including property owners but the market recovered strongly by the mid 1980s and the desire to own rather than rent grew as the years of her government passed.”

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