The Stacks journey… 35+ years of property
When Stacks Property Search & Acquisition opened its first office in 1984 the property landscape looked very different. First time buyers were far less reliant upon help from their parents to get on the property ladder, and things like deposits were only 12% of a buyer’s income… Yes, you read that correctly; only 12%. Home owners (not just investors) enjoyed tax relief on an element of their mortgage payments in the form of MIRAS (Mortgage interest relief at source), and buy-to-let mortgages didn’t exist.
But to give you more context, get this:
- To even be eligible for a mortgage, a borrower had to have been a saver for at least 6 months with the building society of their choice.
- Assured Shorthold Tenancies did not exist.
- Estate agents were unregulated.
- The M25 wasn’t yet complete. And…
- Rightmove wasn’t even a twinkle in someone’s eye.
Boy, oh boy, have times changed, eh?
The property market today
Of course, we haven’t touched on house prices yet, and it’s a subject that obviously deserves attention. Since 1984, property values have increased, in general, by 425%; a house that sold for £50,000 then would now sell for £262,500. However, the RPI has only increased by 191% in the same period. In real terms, therefore, property has more than doubled. So it’s no surprise that property ownership has, in the last three decades, become very much a part of the British psyche. Initiatives such as MIRAS, which many would argue was a government incentive to get people owning their property, have worked their magic. And although MIRAS was then abolished in 2000 by Gordon Brown, the seedlings had already well and truly taken root.
But we also can’t discuss the property market today without mentioning the internet. Back in 1984, buyers exercised their shoe leather and traipsed from one estate agent to the next to register their details. Postmen then exercised their boot leather delivering property details day in, day out. And it’s important to note that those property details are no longer the works of fiction they sometimes used to be. The Property Misdescriptions Act has sorted that.
But if that’s tickled your interest, here are some other notable pieces of information:
- Individual investment in rental property is now an industry in its own right.
- Estate agents are now regulated by the OFT and the Property Ombudsman.
- Conveyancing now takes twice as long as it used to.
- The M25 is supposedly complete but is now being expanded upon day by day. And…
- Rightmove has removed a lot of the initial leg work involved.
Which leads us onto what we’d like to talk about next; property finding. For despite all the wonders of the internet, and the implementation of much needed regulation to control the property market, finding the right property is still hard work. In fact, probably even tougher than it was 35 years ago.
When property finding was in its infancy
To put property finding in context, when Stacks started in 1984 there was just one other buying agent in operation, and they only covered London. In fact, the Association of Relocation Professionals (ARP) didn’t come into being until 1988. But that very point leads us to something of which we are particularly proud… The ARP was actually founded by Paul Greenwood, who was then the managing director of Stacks Property Search. And yes, we confess it does still bring a smile to our faces when we think of how the first meeting took place in a hotel lobby in Swindon with just two other buying agencies.
But what about now? Well, today the ARP has over 540 members and there are also an estimated 250 other buying agents out there who aren’t members; property finding is big business. So do we at Stacks feel well placed to embrace the future with all the turmoil that comes with the complexities of property purchasing? You bet we do… We were instrumental in shaping the property finding market more than 35 years ago and we have every intention of continuing to shape it in years to come. Watch out 2020s… we’ve got plans!