Tamworth, Staffordshire: 2000
Back in the year 2000, the UK property market was in a state of high excitement. The mood of optimism veered between buoyant and reckless, and in the Spring of that year an article appeared in ‘Your Mortgage’ magazine (a popular finance rag) which announced that:
“…due to an increase in commercial and residential demand, property prices in Tamworth are likely to see a 40 percent increase over the next 5 years…”
Of course the local press were delighted by this prediction, and promptly carried the news item on their front pages for the next few weeks. Indeed, so hasty were they to celebrate the good tidings that after a while, the headlines simply proclaimed ‘Tamworth House Prices to Jump 40%’.
Although I didn’t carry out a detailed survey of property prices in this period, I had my eye on a one-bedroomed flat which was on the market for £38000; six months later, this same property was being advertised for £51000.
And it seems that much of the demand for property was actually generated by families and firms twenty miles away in Birmingham. The sudden collapse of the Rover Car Company at Longbridge (Autumn 2000) caused a loss of consumer confidence and dented demand for houses in Tamworth.
But after all this fuss, the estate agents still managed to pocket their hefty bonus payments for selling overpriced houses; local journalists generated vast amounts of lazy coverage; and Tamworth remains a disappointed backwater with a castle, a cinema, and little else.