Platinum Jubilee 2022: 70 years of housing


31 May 2022

In this Platinum Jubilee year, Halifax has looked at the way homes and housing have changed during Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign.

The analysis starts a year before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at a time when the country was recovering from World War II and some rationing was still in place.

Key facts:

  • Twice as many people own their own homes as when the Queen came to the throne.
  • House prices have risen over 300% over the last 70 years in real terms.
  • London prices up over 400% in real terms.
  • Four housing booms witnessed during the Queen’s reign.
  • House price: Earnings ratio nearly double its 1951 level.
  • Housebuilding numbers in 2021 half their 1968 peak.
  • In 1952, approximately 5 million homes had no indoor toilet, Buckingham Palace has 78.


House prices

  • House prices across the UK have increased over 4-fold over the past 70 years, increasing by an average of 327% in real terms.
  • Prices have risen at an average annual rate of 2.1%, slightly faster than the 1.1% per annum average rise in real earnings over the period.
  • House prices in the 1980s recorded their biggest increase with a real rise of 49.4% between 1981 and 1991-more than double the increase of 21.8% over the last ten years.
  • The poorest performing decade was the 1950s when house prices declined by 7% in real terms.

A changing market

  • UK housing market has become more volatile since the 1970s, while continuing to grow over the long term.
  • But for a small decline in the early 1950s, house prices were relatively stable in the 20 years to 1971.
  • There have since been four periods of rapid real house price growth: 1971-73, 1977-80, 1985-89 and 1998-2007.
  • Each period was succeeded by a marked fall in real house prices.
  • The 'Noughties' housing boom - which lasted ten years - was by far the longest period of rapidly rising house prices.
  • Over the last ten years growth has been staggered by slowing from 2016 to 2018 before rebounding.

House prices and earnings

  • House prices over the last ten years have been at their highest in relation to incomes than at any decade over the last 70 years.
  • House prices averaged 5.4 as a multiple of gross annual average earnings between 2011 and 2021.
  • The House price: Earnings ratio (PE Ratio) is now more than double what it was when Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne (PE: 3.2)
  • PE Ration reached its highest level in 2021 at 6.7.
  • The average PE ratio since 1951 is 3.7.
  • Property values were lowest in relation to earnings in the 1950s when the average house price to earnings ratio remained relatively stable between 1951 (3.3x) and 2001 (3.4x).
  • It is only since the start of the new millennium that house price growth has accelerated beyond that of earnings.

Regional house prices

  • The north-south house price divide has widened since 1971.
  • House prices in the south have outperformed northern house prices over the past 50 years.
  • London has recorded the biggest rise in house prices: a real rise of 408%, at an average annual rate of 3.3% (UK prices increased by 264% over the same period).
  • East Anglia recorded the second biggest increase (317%), followed by East Midlands (284%).
  • Scotland recorded the smallest increase with a real rise of 160%.


  • The pattern of tenure has changed dramatically since the 1950s.
  • In 1953, 32% of homes were owner occupied, and half (50%) were privately rented.
  • By the early 1970s, homeownership had increased to represent half of homes (51%).
  • Homeownership peaked in 2001 at 70%.
  • Private rentals have grown from 10 to 19% since 2001 – close to their 1971 level.


  • More than 14 million homes have been built in the UK in the past 70 years.
  • The number of houses built in England in the last decade is 42% lower than in the decade from 1952-61.
  • Peak housebuilding period was 1962-71, when over 3 million homes were constructed.

Housing quality

  • There has been a marked Improvement in the quality of housing since the 1950s.
  • In 1947 there were an estimated 5.3 million homes (42%) in Britain without bathrooms.
  • By 1967 2.5 million homes (19% percent) still lacked an indoor WC.
  • By 1991, fewer than 1% of households lacked an indoor toilet.

Warmer and drier

  • Modern construction standards have pushed the energy efficiency of homes upward rapidly.
  • The average EPC rating for home built since 2012 is B or higher.
  • The average rating for all homes in England and Wales of D.
  • One in ten homes built before the 1930s achieves an EPC rating of C.

See data tables and charts in the PDF for full detail.