Website points to Blair’s mixed housing legacy

With Tony Blair due to step down as Prime Minister later this week, says his housing market legacy includes lower mortgage rates but also declining numbers of first-time buyers.

It says the average mortgage rate during the Blair years was 5.9% compared with 8.8% in the decade before he took office. Average house prices have risen from £68,000 in May 1997 to £197,000 today. And individuals’ average mortgage borrowing has soared from £47,000 when he first took office to £125,000 as he departs.

First-time buyer numbers have shrunk. Some 45% of mortgage borrowers were first-timers in 1997, compared with about a third today. And the cost of moving home rose from £2,927 in the year before the Blairs’ removal van arrived in Downing Street to £9,486 to-day, an increase of over 300%. Average household income rose by just 43%.

Warren Bright, chief executive of, says: “The housing market has been energetic during the Blair years, but the bottom rung of the ladder has moved out of the reach of many.”