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Thoughts on 40 years in the property industry by Chris Beeby of Andrew Granger & Co

Mon 21 February 2022

As I approach 40 years in the industry, having always worked in both property sales and property lettings, it’s interesting to look back at the huge changes that have taken place in the housing market over the years from boom to bust, marketing methods and legislation.

When I first joined a local Leicestershire firm in the early 1980’s it was a time when we still used black and white polaroid photos and basic photocopied details.  Advertising was only in the local papers, our office window, and in-house magazines.  To get a mortgage you had to join a mortgage queue and knowing your local bank or building society manager could be key. 

The mid 1980’s saw a steady increase in the activity in the housing market as the economy started to boom and, in the budget of 1988, it was announced that dual MIRAS (mortgage interest tax relief) would be removed later in the year.  MIRAS had been introduced in 1983 allowing a discount on mortgages up to the first £30,000 for each applicant.  After August 1988 it was limited to a single borrower and created a rush to get on the housing ladder and take advantage of the discounts which later helped compound the subsequent market crash.  MIRAS was finally completely phased out in 2000.

1987 saw the start of a turning point in how properties were rented with the introduction of the soft furnishing fire regulations.  This helped change rental properties from predominately being furnished to unfurnished and in 1989 the introduction of Assured Shorthold Tenancies helped create a significant private rented sector to replace the loss of social housing as people took advantage of the Right to Buy scheme.

Following the rush of corporate groups keen to purchase Estate Agencies in the mid to late 1980’s big names like Prudential and Nationwide came and went as the 1990’s saw the breakup of these groups and the return to smaller agencies serving local communities.

The early 1990’s was a time of house prices falling and negative equity, and interest rates hitting 16%.  As the decade progressed normality returned to interest rates and the market in general and the introduction of ‘Buy to Let’ mortgages helped drive the market forward.

As the millennium arrived so did the internet with a vengeance, turning how we communicated and marketed properties on its head.  No longer did people need to come into our offices and sit down in front of us but could sit remotely at home.  Gone were the days of the nosey neighbour wanting to turn up at an ‘Open Day’ to see what lay behind the curtains.  Whilst it made us much more efficient in how we dealt with properties we did lose some of the fun.

The cycle continued until the financial crash in 2007/8 and so it started all over again.

During these periods residential lettings has been a constantly changing industry with over 150 pieces of legislation now in place covering the rental market.  No wonder the vast majority of our properties are fully managed by us as there is a minefield out there for every wrong step.

As more change in the property market is inevitable, whatever it has in store across the UK, I feel sure that the East Midlands will continue in the consistent, seemingly less affected manner that it always does. We’re very lucky that this part of the country has a diverse economy, is not reliant on a large local employer, has a fantastic access network, and range of house prices for all.

Regardless of what’s going on with the property market there will always be a core of people that need to move, and here at Andrew Granger & Co we will continue to do our best to advise and support people in one of the biggest decisions that they will make.

Andrew Granger & Co offers over 32 years of experience and knowledge in a range of property services across Leicester, from office in Market Harborough, Leicester, and Loughborough. You can find out more at