Research from the Halifax, the UK's largest mortgage lender, shows that house prices in the UK have increased by 306% over the last 20 years, the period covered by the Halifax House Price Index.
The biggest increases in prices have been recorded in Greater London where prices have risen by 456%, whilst the smallest increases have been seen in Scotland (158%).
The North/South divide has widened significantly over the past 20 years too. Prices in London are now 76% above the national average compared with 28% higher in early 1983. At the other end of the spectrum, prices in Scotland are currently 59% of the UK average compared with 93% in 1983.
The most and least expensive towns have remained unchanged since 1988. Esher in Surrey was the most expensive town in 1988 with an average price of £195,103, and is still the most expensive today at £416,328. Abertillery in Wales was the least expensive town in 1988 with an average price of £18,010, and still remains the least expensive at £37,872 today.
The increase over the last 20 years in the number of people owning their own home is the biggest ever recorded. There are now 4.5 million more owner-occupiers than there were 20 years ago (17.1 million compared with 12.6 million in 1983).
In percentage terms, owner-occupation has risen from 59% in 1983 to a level of 70% today. Currently, the South-East has the highest level of owner-occupation (76%), whilst Greater London has the lowest level of owner occupation at 58%.
Martin Ellis, Halifax chief economist, says: “The housing market has been one of the UK's main success stories over the last 20 years. A very significant increase in the number of people owning their own homes has been matched by substantial gains in house prices. Residential property is a very good long-term investment by any standard.”