Changes in Property since 1952

Published: 08/06/2022 By Allan Fuller

Changes in property since 1952: 

The Queen's Jubilee has highlighted the vast changes that have taken place since her assent to the throne. 

In property, according to Nationwide statistics, the average house price in 1952 was £1,891. Their figure for the first quarter of this year was £260,771. To save you working that out it is an increase of 13792%. 

In 1952 the average take-home pay was £9 a week, compared to £556 now. Across the board, £1 then would be the equivalent of £30 now but pay has actually gone up by 61 times, which is more than twice that.

Back in the 50s, only a very few houses belonging to the very rich had central heating. and hot water, some of the older mansion blocks in Putney had heating and hot water supplied from coal fired boilers.  Most homes were heated with individual electric, gas or coal fires. Some coal fires had a ‘back boiler’ that  also created hot water. In summer, a water tank with an electric element created the hot water, or there was a gas fired water heater, called a Geyzer, a rather ghastly looking think that looked, and sometimes was, highly dangerous! The utilities bill would have been about £1 per week on average, but homes were drafty, often damp and the various fires were not much use unless you sat very close, so thick layers of clothing indoors were essential!

Virtually everyone who had a garden grew their own fruit and vegetables and just like now, allotments were much in demand, so this is something that has again become very popular.
As for transport only rich families could afford a car in 1952, when a mid-range car cost £507. Today it is around £25,000. There was no HP or lease deals, so you paid all upfront. One item  that has gone down dramatically in price in real terms is the TV. Not many families had one in 1952, but those who did would pay £80 for an 8-inch black and white model. A 55-inch is now £380, less than five times the price.

The price of food has broadly gone up by 30 to 35 times the 1952 figures, but cigarettes and beer have been hard hit. A pack of 20 king size would have cost 18p when Elizabeth became Queen but are £13.99 now, a 76-fold increase.