According to a new study by Halifax, house prices in the UK have increased by 273% in real terms since 1959 .
According to the study, once retail price inflation is accounted for, the price of housing has increased at an average rate of 2.7% a year, outstripping average wage increases amounting to 2% yearly.* The fastest increase in house prices occured between 1999 and 2009, when they shot up by 5% a year.
Meanwhile, access to council housing has shrunk. The percentage of the population living in council housing expanded throughout the 1960s and 70s, peaking at 33% in 1981. With the introduction to right-to-buy under the Thatcher government, and failure to build new social housing stock in recent decades, the proportion of the population in social housing now stands at 18%.
The increased proportion of owner-occupiers - from 43% in 1961 to 68% in 2009 - chimes with the picture of an increasingly debt-saturated economy, as easy credit fills the widening gap between increases in wages and the increasing cost of living.
*However, "average" wage increases frequently do not account for increasing levels of income inequality. "Average wages" are often the mean wage, meaning that a small section of the population enjoying significantly increased incomes can push up the "average" while the majority of the population experience meagre or nonexistent growth.