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U.K. housing market trends – 1970’s to present day, and a prediction for the future.

Posted on 24th August 2023 by Master Removers

At Master Removers Group, we have a bird’s eye view of trends from the nation’s leading removals and storage companies. Although conversations around the housing market tend to focus on the fluctuations of prices and stability, it is always interesting to see how trends affect what people are looking for when they move into a new home and a new life situation.  Different decades have political and economic factors that drive trends and developments in housing, which affect moving habits.  Taking a broader perspective, it is interesting to see the evolution of housing preferences, and the circumstances which shape affordability and quality of housing. The removals and storage industry continues to grow, particularly in the newer sector of storage, which is highly flexible and adaptable.  Patterns over various decades show emerging trends which set to influence the housing markets of the future. 

Factors affecting housing trends in the 1970s

Industrial decline in the 1970’s brought about changes to urban areas, and as the suburbs began to flourish people often moved away from inner city areas. Commuting from the suburbs became a popular choice as railways expanded to service commuter towns.  Concerns around housing quality led to improving building regulations and housing standards.  While the 70s were a time of economic instability and recession, social housing programs continued to develop to provide low-income housing.  Housing cooperatives and other social housing initiatives came into being and the overall standard of council housing was brought into question.  Generally, houses were owned, but rental of homes did increase due to the economic instability of the time. Despite high-interest rates, the demand for housing remained strong and prices continued to rise. 

Housing trends in the 1980s

The 80s saw a rise in homeownership for young families and through the Right to Buy scheme which allowed council tenants to purchase their own homes.  Financial deregulation increased mortgage possibilities for many, making homeownership more widely available.  In addition, there was an increase in private landlords, as renting our property became an option for homeowners.  The housing market became more of an arena for financial speculation and price appreciation.  As the middle classes expanded, gentrification began to update areas that had been neglected and improved the housing stock in cities.  While homeownership increased, social housing stock was depleted, and the rising house prices made it harder for low-income families to get a foot on the housing ladder.  New housing developments were also in process creating modern housing estates for commuters and those living in the suburbs. 

Housing trends in the 1990s 

As one decade transitions into another, in the housing world, changes are slow. However, the 90s saw the influence of the Buy to Let market which encouraged investment in houses for the rental market.  Shifts in family models influenced housing choices and developments with an ageing population and many single-parent families.  Mixed-use developments came on the scene where residential, commercial, and retail spaces were appreciated.  Young professionals moved into the city centres, gentrification came in their wake.  Housing associations continued to offer affordable housing options and shared ownership schemes assisted people to pay a part of the investment on a property, while continuing to rent. Fixed-rate mortgages allowed homeowners to predict monthly payments and budget with more peace of mind. The internet began to usher in a new age of potential remote working. 

Housing trends in the 2000s

Dramatic events in the 2000s included a housing boom and then a housing crash after the 2008 financial crisis.  Growth continued in rental markets through property investment and the Buy to Let scheme. As buying into the market became harder due to reforms in lending criteria after the crash, first-time buyers were faced with a steeper challenge.  Apartment living, rental life, and shared amenities became the norm in urban areas.  With an increased lack of social housing and housing stock, there was a move to regenerate Brownfield sites for housing and mixed-use developments.  Preferences in this decade demonstrate a solid interest in solar panels, insulation, and increased sustainability in development.  Government initiatives to create more affordable housing increased and retirement villages for the elderly were developed with shared amenities and accessibility design features.  The Internet spearheaded online property searches opening the global market. 

Recent housing trends in the 2020s

Leaping ahead to the 2020s, the internet has sculpted a whole new set of circumstances and influences in the housing market.  Beyond online viewing, the shifts in short-term letting from platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Open Rent are changing the rental market irreversibly. Remote working has increased the number of digital nomads who can work anywhere in the world and established a firm working-from-home culture in many corporations. Energy efficiency and sustainability drive many people’s housing choices out of preference and necessity, within the context of the energy crisis of 2022. The passion for renovation which is a nationwide trend has increased the interest in updating properties for flipping on the market. The pandemic of 2020 sealed a preference for many to acquire property with large gardens, access to green space and even moving out of the city. The increase in house prices from the 90s to the 2020s made it difficult for young people to find a way into the market, often remaining living at home, or getting help from the Bank of Mum and Dad.  Help to Buy schemes are available, particularly in tandem with new build housing. 

Housing Market Predictions for 2024  

2023 is a transition year in the housing market, after the dizzy heights of 2021. Higher interest rates and inflation are slowing the market, with buyers concerned about rising mortgage costs. The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts prices will fall by 10% from here to 2025.  While this dip is forecasted, it is not equated with a crash. Considering that mortgage lenders could reduce rates and inflation decreases, there is scope for the market to stabilize. International buyers are taking advantage of the weak pound and slow market. Buyers from Hong Kong, China, and Malaysia are securing homes in central London.  London continues to increase Build to Rent developments, offering managed rental lifestyles with luxury edges. 

The Master Removers Group 

As a community network of the best removals and storage companies in the UK, we bring together family businesses into our resilient network.  In times of change shared resources and insight can guarantee evolution and development. All our firms under the MRG umbrella are highly regarded and reputed for their reliability and excellent customer service.  As we can work together as a team, we are able to share resources and keep costs down, something we can offer to our customers. If you are looking for the right team for your removal, storage, or office migration needs, the Master Removers can help.  With leading firms in London, Oxford, Bath, Dorset, and Newbury we can offer you a range of options. Plus, our articles can give insight into the whole moving process and how to research the right team for you. Contact us today and we can get the ball rolling by finding you exactly the right removers for you.