Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Three of a Kind; Townhouses Come in a Range of Styles and Sizes. Homemaker Looks at Three Now on the Market

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Three of a Kind; Townhouses Come in a Range of Styles and Sizes. Homemaker Looks at Three Now on the Market

Article excerpt

MY mother-in-law lived in council property most of her life. She loved her homes. They were well-built and well-maintained and she took a great pride in each of them over the years.

She was also a great believer in cradle-to-grave council housing - good homes for those who couldn't afford to buy. But 30 years ago Margaret Thatcher and her government introduced the right-to-buy policy and mother-in-law's street soon took on a different look as those who took advantage of the discount scheme rapidly replaced their front doors to show the world they were now owner-occupiers.

Within a few years she was the only council tenant in the street and she realised that if she didn't buy the house, someone else would as soon as she moved out. So with her savings, and help from her large family, she bought her own home - and a new front door, of course.

She became a statistic. A third of households lived in council-owned homes in 1980. That figure is now just 11%, with a further 8% renting from housing associations. In 1980, owneroccupation amounted to 57% of all households and 30 years on this is 68%.

Margaret Thatcher did not make the dream of owning one's home a reality for millions - like my mother-in-law they had simply never considered they would one day buy their own property.

What the then Mrs Thatcher did was plant the seed of hope, that turned to expectation, that most people would be able to become owner-occupiers. But suddenly a generation brought up with this expectation could face the prospect of never being able to get on to the property ladder.

Lenders are increasingly moving the mortgage goalposts. They are demanding bigger and bigger deposits and not fulfilling one of the sole reasons for their existence - lending.

Unless we have more young people starting on the property ladder, there will be problems further up. …

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