Back to the Future Day: Where we’re going, we don’t need low house prices

Today is October 21st, a date that sci-fi fans around the world know as the day that Marty McFly travels to in Back to the Future II.

After heading back to 1955 in Robert Zemeckis’ original movie, Marty used Doc Brown’s time-travelling DeLorean to go forward in time by 30 years in the sequel to save his offspring – a journey that, for many decades, offered cinemagoers a glimpse of the future. As of today, though, the movie takes place entirely in the past. Real life has gone forward to the future – and while the world is full of things that the film did predict correctly (finger print scanners, portable computers, virtual reality), there is one shocking change that the film missed completely: house prices.

Even without the video phone conferencing and hoverboard, shelling out for a property in 2015 is more expensive than Marty ever could have imagined. According to eMoov.co.uk’s research , the average house price in 1985 was £34,378, up from the £1,928 Marty’s parents would have paid in 1955. Today, property values in the UK have soared to an average of £190,805, a whopping 555 per cent increase; as the online estate agency puts it, going forward another 30 years at the same rate would see average house prices in the future reach over £1 million.

If there were a fourth Back to the Future movie, you wonder whether it would be about someone going back in time to buy several homes before heading back to the modern day to make a tidy profit: the DeLorean is not just a car; it’s a property investor’s dream.

To put the price rise in context, though, it is also worth considering average earnings. In 1975, the average annual UK wage was £8,890, according to the BBC. In 2015, according to the ONS, that has increased to £24,024 per annum (or £463 per week). Compared to the property values from eMoov.co.uk, UK house prices cost 3.86 times the average salary in 1985. In 2015, UK house prices are far less affordable, at 7.94 times the average salary.

“Where we’re going, we don’t need Help to Buy,” Doc might have said in a real estate remake of the film. He would have changed his mind, though, when seeing what the future really looked like.

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