At the time of writing this piece the Coronation of King Charles III is just over a week away. After serving one of the world’s longest apprenticeships King Charles III ascends the throne of a country which has changed beyond recognition to the Britain that existed seven decades ago when his late mother Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in June 1953.
Dunfermline was a town in 1953, now we’re proud to be called a city. Rangers won the Scottish Cup in 1953 beating Aberdeen in a replay after the first game finished 1-1. Of greater note perhaps was that East Fife won the League Cup beating Partick Thistle 3 -2 with local legend Charlie “Hot-Shot” Fleming amongst the scorers for the men from Methil. The average professional footballer earned around £8 per week in 1953. Now the average salary in the Scottish Premiership is £2,500 per week although top players at Celtic and Rangers earn £20 -25K per week.
In 1953, 68% of the nation rented their homes, now that figure is just 38%. 32% of people owned their own home at the time of the last coronation, whereas now as we enter the third Carolean age that figure has almost doubled 62% whether that be outright or with the help of a mortgage. For those who wanted to buy in 1953, the average UK house price in 1953 was £1,891 (Nationwide Building society data) the equivalent of around £75,000 in today’s money. These days the UK average house price is £290,000 and £185,000 in Scotland whilst it’s £205,000 here in Dunfermline.
The increase in home ownership can be attributed to a number of factors including government schemes such as the Right to Buy in the 1980’s and 90’s which allowed council tenants to purchase their homes at a discount. Mortgage availability and the relative ease with which one can now secure borrowing compared to 1953 is another reason behind a near doubling of home ownership. A failure to replace council homes with new social housing has of course played a part also leaving many with little option but to get on to the housing ladder even if only reluctantly.
The Scottish and UK housing market has indeed undergone significant changes since the last coronation in 1953, with more people owning their homes, a wider variety of housing available, and a greater and growing emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency. Looking ahead as we enter the third Carolean age it is likely that the housing market will continue to evolve in response to changing economic, social, and environmental factors. However, one thing that is unlikely to change is the enduring appeal of owning a home in Dunfermline and West Fife, with its rich history, diverse landscapes, and vibrant communities.