The property world in 1979 - when The Iron Lady came to power
The country is in the grip of Thatcher fever and to celebrate the latest box office smash, The Iron Lady, Dawn Carritt, director of the London country house department of Jackson-Stops & Staff, reflects on the first year ofthe Thatcher government in 1979 and the very different property landscape; when a first time
buyer could get on the London property ladder for 25,000; 1 million bought a 2,000 acre country estate and mortgage rates reached a staggering 17 per cent.

According to the Jackson-Stops & Staff archive, wealthy commuters could buy a good six bedroom family home in the stockbroker belt of Surrey with an acre of garden for 250,000 today it would cost over 2 million. This five bedroom Surrey country retreat - pictured below - is on the market for 2,450,000.

In 1979, mortgage loans would not be considered for anything more than two and a half times a persons salary and mainly came from building societies. Only a few years earlier women would have needed to get their fathers or husbands consent to get a mortgage in their own name. Thatchers first time buyers could own their first home in the capital off fashionable Munster Road in Fulham for 25,000 if they were prepared to do some work to it but to secure a mortgage would have required savings in an account at a building society. This one bedroom apartment is just off the Fulham Road, has been recently renovated and has an asking price of 385,000.

A north Wales country estate was sold by Jackson-Stops & Staffs Chester office for a then record-breaking one millionpounds and included a principal residence, cottages, farm buildings, over 2,000 acres and a small grouse moor. A similar Cheshire country estate
- Tilstone Lodge - is currently being marketed through our Chester office.

Pictured right, it includes an 11 bedroom Grade II listed house, several cottages and outbuildings, a swimming pool, 10 acre lake, parkland and farmland in 115 acres for a guide price of 10 million. Agricultural land prices were slow to recover during the 1970s
but became stronger and by the end of the decade had reached 1,500 an acre - something of a bench mark then but nothing to todays benchmark of 10,000 an acre and in certain areas prices have now exceeded this.

Inheritance Tax (then known as Capital Transfer Tax) started the year at a top rate of 75% and income tax for the top bracket was
83 per cent though it was reduced by the Iron Lady later in the year to 60 per cent. Basic rate tax was 33 per cent but fell to 30 per cent in the first Thatcher budget. For those that could obtain a mortgage, the Bank Rate was at a shattering level of 14 per cent and peaked that year at 17 per cent.

Dawn Carritt commented: House prices held despite the economic constraints, though prices did fall in the early 1980s. The Iron Ladys corrective medicine may have been tough to swallow for all, including property owners but the market recovered strongly by the mid 1980s and the desire to own rather than rent grew as the years of her government passed.   

If you're looking for country estates or country houses for sale contact our country houses & estates office on  020 7664 6646.