The Three Thousand Pounds House

Birmingham, where I was born

It is 1971, I am a baby of almost a year old, my older sister is three and my mum is pregnant with my younger sister. She decides she doesn’t want to live on the top storey of a block of flats in a rough part of Birmingham. (That’s where I was born, at the stroke of midnight in the middle of a thunderstorm on the top storey of a block of flats that has now been demolished. Mum loves to tell this story, like I am the devil incarnate or something.)

Play School House ideal image of the village propertySo she doesn’t want to bring her children up in the city. She wants to live in a house in a village. My dad is working as an engineer in a factory in Birmingham and they don’t have a car. They get a map of the Midlands and draw a circle around Birmingham.

Then they randomly stick a pin in the map somewhere within that circle. The first house that they view is for sale at three thousand, three hundred and fifty pounds. They haggle over the fifty and buy the house for three thousand and three hundred pounds.

We move in a month before my sister is born. We stay there for fourteen years before moving out, at which time it is sold for twenty thousand pounds. I would hazard a guess that that house is now worth two hundred thousand pounds or more. Such is the rate of house price rises, especially in picturesque English villages.

This inflation in house prices is much more than the standard inflation going on in the country at the time (which was already pretty dire considering that the decimal change had just happened). In terms of Mars Bar currency, the three thousand pound house in 1971 would be worth less than sixty thousand pounds today.

1971 Mars Bar 2.5p
2008 Mars Bar not yet 50p

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


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