The London property market has seen a sharp increase in the average house price. If we go back to the 70's the average UK and average London price were almost the same, however since than the gap has increased quite dramatically. The average property in London is +£400k, whereas in the UK this is almost half.

How long prices will increase till the bubble will burst? Some say property prices tend to double every 8 years, if that's the case then in few years time the average price will be £800k, however this is not a fair balance compared to the average salary in London. My question whether the world has seen a similar property boom like in London (throughout history) where there is an imbalance of property prices & income, prices shooting up to such an extend that they become unattractive/ unaffordable? If so it would be nice if you could provide some reference as I am interested to study this into more detail and understand what the effects were of such highly priced market and how the economy responded?

  • $\begingroup$ Metropolitan property rents are subject to Matthew effect which is much towards to sociology and game theory. Simulation of such effect can be observed under Markov chain. $\endgroup$
    – mootmoot
    Jan 3, 2017 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ Has the Matthew effect taken place somewhere else? $\endgroup$
    – Sharingan
    Jan 3, 2017 at 23:37
  • $\begingroup$ Matthew effect is just a general term of describing exponential growth of multiple interactive effect, taken place when multiple factors taking place cumulatively. E.g. resources, trades, population, jobs, utilities. The present day example of boom and downfall of such effect is Detroit : where the key factor contribute to the boom depleted without replacement, it will went opposite direction. $\endgroup$
    – mootmoot
    Jan 4, 2017 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


According to the ONS the house price-to-earnings ratio was 12.8 in London and 7.8 in England as of 31/12/2019.

According to Schroders the house price-to-earnings ratio in England was consistently above 8 until the late 19th century (see graph below). In 1845 it was 13 in England, so it was arguably higher than that in London at the time.

What I don't find very clear is if Schroders are referring to housing units when they speak of houses. They say that "houses" where bigger in the 19th century and hence more expensive. Obviously the average earner did not live in a bigger house but would have shared it with other average earners.

A more sensible statistic would hence be something like a "minimum housing unit price-to-earnings ratio". Comparable prices would still likely be higher in the past. But it shows that creating comparable data would require in-depth study not just of the economics of housing but also how these houses are used, i.e. what can realistically be considered a minimum housing unit in the 19th century given the housing conditions at the time (Engels published The Housing Question in 1872).

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Source: Schroders (30/01/2020)


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