Key findings of the Halifax study:
* The average UK house price has increased by 273% since 1959 in real terms (after allowing for retail price inflation), at an average annual rate of 2.7%. This is faster than the 2% per annum average rise in real earnings over the period;
* Pronounced cycles have been a key feature of the housing market since 1959. There have been four distinct periods of rapid real house price growth: 1971-73, 1977-80, 1985-89 and 1998-2007. Each of these periods was followed by a significant fall in real house prices;
* Owner-occupation in the UK has increased by 25 percentage points from 43% in 1961 to 68% in 2008. The biggest rise in owner-occupation occurred in the 1980s following the introduction of the Right to Buy scheme;
* The proportion of homes privately rented has fallen significantly from 33% in 1961 to 14% in 2008. The private rental sector was bigger than both the owner-occupied and social rented sectors until the mid 1950s. There has been a more recent increase in the private rented sector; from 9% in 1991 to 14% in 2008.
* The relative size of the socially-rented sector in 2008 (18%) was smaller than in 1961 (25%). The proportion of the dwelling stock that is socially rented expanded rapidly through the 1960s and 1970s, peaking at 33% in 1981. A sharp reduction in local authority house building and the sale of council houses have contributed to the sector’s contraction since the early 1980s. In addition, the composition of the sector has changed significantly with a marked shift away from local authority provided housing towards provision by housing associations.
* Households lacking an inside WC fell from 14% to just 0.2% between 1960 and 1996;
* Households without a basic hot water supply declined from 22% in 1967 to 1% in 1991;
* Households in Great Britain with central heating increased from 35% in 1971 to 92% in 2000;
* The proportion of single person households in England has risen significantly from less than one in five (19%) households in 1971 to one in three (33%) in 2009. The proportion of English households occupied by married couples has declined from 70% in 1971 to 42% in 2009, although married households are still the most common form of household. The number of households occupied by cohabiting couples increased from 1% in 1971 to 11% in 2009.
* The number of houses built in the UK was an estimated 156,816 in 2009; 44% less than the 281,570 built in 1959. House building reached record levels during the 1960s, with a peak of 425,800 units completed in 1968. Private sector completions (226,100) also reached a record in that year. The decline in house building has been driven by a fall in public sector completions.
* The rise of detached properties and the decline of semi-detached homes. There has been a marked shift in the type of properties built over the past 50 years. Semi-detached properties account for the largest proportion of the current English housing stock built between 1945 and 1964 (41%). Detached homes represent just 10% of the housing stock that was constructed during this period. In contrast, detached properties account for more than a third (36%) of the English housing stock built after 1980; more than any other property type. Semis account for 15% of the post-1980 housing stock.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: "The last 50 years have witnessed some remarkable developments in the UK housing market. There has been a significant shift towards owner-occupation with the majority of households now living in their own homes rather than renting. There have also been substantial changes in both the number of households and their composition; the typical UK household now is very different to 50 years ago."
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