Defining the decades: Victorian Era

House prices have only ever been as expensive as they are now compared to wages twice in the past 120 years. One peak as the property industry boomed in the 2000's will come as no great surprise, but the other was around the start of the 20th Century. And before the 1900’s – the Victorian Era – buying a home in Britain was considered even more expensive.

Victorian houses are amongst the most popular and easily-recognisable period properties on the market today. The Victorians were prolific house builders who spared no expense when it came to producing homes that were structurally sound, well-proportioned, and built to last – some might say this is one of their most important legacies.

They more than doubled the housing stock in the UK between 1851 and 1911, from 3.8 million to 8.9 million houses – for reference, today it stands at more than 28 million, however, the sizes of the properties decreased, with the average plot size being 147 sqm for those built between 1850 and 1899. And while average house prices also declined 23% between 1845 and 1911, in a 0.4% yearly downward trajectory, wages actually increased by 90% over the same period at 1.1% per annum.*

As the population also increased in size, builders seized the opportunity to respond to this demand targeting the wealthy middle classes looking to move to larger houses, and away from cramped, back-to-back terraces characteristic in industrial areas. And the abolition of the window and brick taxes allowed builders to be more cost-effective and increased the number of taller properties we often see today in many towns and cities. In London, some of the capital's most iconic stucco-fronted houses were built as a result, and are still highly desired.

In areas such as Fulham, many Victorian properties have had huge basements dug out further increasing the overall square footage for growing families in areas where living space is in high demand.

*Data source: Schroders

See a few examples here:

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Newchapel Road, Lingfield

A handsome and substantial detached property dating from 1890 and retaining many character features.

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Surrey Lane, Battersea

Forming part of a pair of semi-detached Victorian houses with steps leading up to a raised ground floor this is an extremely well-proportioned family house.