Local property expert, Debbie Fortune calls on over 40 years’ experience in the property market, and casts her mind back to the late 70’s a time when the Village People topped the charts with YMCA, where a pint of milk cost 15p and a Mars bar cost just 14p. 
‘In a world of uncertainty, where global forces have had such a huge effect on our health, our jobs and our lives, it can sometimes seem difficult to be sure of anything, let alone property prices, but, when you look at the facts and figures from all those decades ago it is easy to see the benefits of home ownership.’, says Debbie. She comments,‘ The late 70’s marked the start of my career in estate agency and as the decade drew to a close I carried out my very first property appraisal...and I was terrified.’ 
‘It was a terraced cottage in Wrington, single glazed, as most were then and with night storage heating (at the time there was no gas in the village) . There were very few fitted kitchens and most bathroom suites were white...but, if you had one in racy Avocado, you were then seen to be at the trail blazing height of fashion! 
The responsibility of trying to use my limited knowledge to appraise my clients most valuable asset was simply daunting and as the time approached I became more and more anxious....’ 
‘So I decided the only way to get through it was to confess my lack of experience to my client , who couldn’t have been lovelier, and after looking around the house we sat and chatted over tea and cake and the conversation went something like this... 
“Shall we play it safe and tuck the asking price just under £10,000, at £9,950 or be really cheeky and tip it over £10,000 at £10,250?” 
‘Today that property is probably worth between £250,000 and £300,000 and will be double glazed with a fitted kitchen, a new white bathroom suite and gas fired central heating. In fact it’s probably on its third or fourth boiler since then!’ 
‘The next milestone I passed soon after was to value, market and sell my first property over £100,000. A six figure sum seemed enormous at the time and at last I felt I had finally arrived as a country estate agent, and how quickly prices rose to make that figure an everyday event.’ 
‘The average house price in the U.K. for the last quarter of 2020 was £229,819, in 1980 it was £20,268 and in 1960 it was just £2,530, so the figures speak for themselves.’ 
‘The stamp duty holiday has had a further inflationary effect on property prices as buyers compete for the opportunity to buy locally, and the exodus from towns and cities to the villages continues apace’ , concludes Debbie, ‘ and if you are fortunate enough to be a homeowner or are looking to buy your first home, I cannot personally think of a better way of safeguarding your hard earned cash. The added bonus for anyone needing a mortgage at the moment are the current interest rates, which are at an all-time low, and which are predicted to remain at a low level for some time. As a solid investment bricks and mortar have the ‘thumbs up’ from me!’ 
Debbie Fortune Estate Agents have three country offices at Backwell, Congresbury and Chew Magna, covering the sale and rental of property in the Chew Valley, the Mendips and North Somerset. For more information visit debbiefortune.co.uk, or call any of the offices. 
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