The phenomenal rise in property prices in the UK (up 1879% since 1974) has been a strong indication of sustained economic growth over the past several years, and sustained economic growth bodes well and is a boon for everybody, right? It’s true, rising house prices improve the economy which translates into more jobs, more money in more hands and a better quality of life for all.
One sector benefiting from the property price boom more than others is the construction industry. According to the annual salary survey undertaken by Hays, a white collar recruitment agency, builders, engineers, surveyors, architects and site managers have enjoyed salary increases up to four times higher than the cost of living. Unfortunately, not all salaries have kept pace with the cost of living, so while the average weekly wage has increased by 1616% since 1974 (to £517), many of life’s necessities (and little indulgences) have also increased greatly.
Here are five examples which might not seem that significant, but which, when looked at in numerical terms, are quite scary.
1. A pack of cigarettes cost 20p in 1974. Today you’ll pay £8.74. That’s a jaw-dropping 4370 per cent increase. 2. A movie ticket cost 45p in 1974. Today you’ll pay £9.60. That’s an increase of 2133 per cent. 3. A pint of lager cost 20p in 1974. Today you’ll pay around £3.19. That’s a staggering 1595 per cent increase. 4. In 1974 a Mars Bar cost only 6p. Today it costs 79p. That’s a hike of 1317 per cent. 5. A pint of milk cost as little as 5p in 1974. Today you’ll pay 49p. That’s a price rise of 1089 per cent.
If we look to the past, we’ll see evidence that there have been economic troughs and peaks, with the cost of living waxing and waning. The good news is that the pattern of the economic growth in the UK has, on the whole, trended upwards, and is currently moving full-steam ahead. Property can’t take all the credit, but while the going is good, why not see if you can make it up the property ladder?