During
1979, the first year of the Thatcher government, the UK property market looked very different. A first-time buyer could get on the
London
property ladder for £25,000; £1 million bought a 2,000 acre country
estate and mortgage rates reached a staggering 17%.

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 over £2 million.

In
1979, mortgage loans would not be considered for anything more than two
and a half times a borrower’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.

Thatcher’s
first-time buyers could own their first home in the capital off
fashionable Munster Road in Fulham for £25,000 if they were prepared
to do some work to it but to secure a mortgage would have required
savings in an account at a building society.

A
north Wales country estate was sold by Jackson-Stops & Staff’s
Chester office for a then record-breaking £1 million and included a
principal residence,
cottages, farm buildings, over 2,000 acres and a small grouse moor.

Agricultural
land prices were slow to recover during the 1970s but became stronger
and by the end of the decade had reached £1,500 an acre – something
of a benchmark then but nothing to today’s benchmark of £10,000 an acre
and in certain areas prices have now exceeded this.

Inheritance
Tax (then known as Capital Transfer Tax) started the year at a top rate
of 75% and Income Tax for the top bracket was 83% though
it was reduced by the Iron Lady later in the year to 60%. 

Basic
rate tax was 33% but fell to 30 per cent in the first Thatcher
budget. For those that could obtain a mortgage, the Bank Rate was
at a shattering level of 14% and peaked that year at 17%.

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 ratherthan rent grew as the years of her
government passed.

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