Website points to Blair’s mixed housing legacy

With Tony Blair due to step down as Prime Minister later this week, Pro-pertyfinder.com 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 propertyfinder.com, 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.”