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Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, left, after she handed over a copy of the deeds of 39 Amersham Road, Harold Hill in 1980 to the Greater London Council's 12,000th council house buyer, James Patterson and his wife Maureen. With them are their three children, twins Vernon and Martin and 16 year old Leisa. PICTURE: Press Association
Lee-Ann Richards, Reporter
Saturday, April 20, 2013
The Harold Hill council house that Margaret Thatcher visited to launch her Right to Buy scheme has been sold for more than 20 times its original value.
The property in Amersham Road was sold to a Lithuanian former student for £180,000.
It came as Lady Thatcher was taken on her final journey to St Paul’s Cathedral in London, where she was greeted by mourners lining the street.
Mrs Thatcher visited the three bedroom house in 1980 to congratulate its first owners, James and Maureen Patterson.
The couple had moved into the house in 1962, but with a daughter Leisa and twin boys Martin and Vernon to provide for, the couple didn’t believe that they would make it on to the property ladder.
But the 1980 Right to Buy scheme offered them a sense of hope.
The couple had lived in the property for 18 years so qualified for a 40 per cent discount and after putting down a deposit of just £5, they bought the house in August in 1980 for £8,315.
But the couple’s marriage broke down over problems meeting the mortgage payments, which were rocketing because of high interest rates.
Mrs Patterson struggled to keep a roof over her head on her own. She was eventually before forced to sell up and move into a mobile home.
In 2002, she said: “If I’d forseen the end of my marriage I’d never have bought.
“I got trapped there without enough cash to cover bills, The mortgage was about £250 a month and after my husband left I survived only because my sons gave me board and lodging.
“I was desperate in a house I couldn’t manage and wished I’d never bought.
“It broke my heart when I had to sell. It went for £57,000 and when I’d paid off the mortgage I had only enough left to buy a mobile home so I’m back down the property ladder.”
She added: “But I don’t blame anyone. It was my decision to make that investment. She was an icon to me. She was a lovely guest. I gave her a guided tour and she said ‘This is not just a house-it’s a home.”
In 1996 the house was sold to transport manager Matt Brady and his wife Mandy, a teaching assistant, who shared the house with their two children, Daniel and Hannah.
After five years, the couple relocated to Leigh-On Sea and sold the house for £101,000, a profit of more than £40,000.
Mr Brady, told the Telegraph: “We sacrificed hard to buy our first house. We got a lot of benefit from Lady Thatcher’s policy much later on because we bought at the right time and were able to take advantage of the property boom.”
Angela Bacon was the next owner, who lived in the house from 2001.
She made a profit of £30,000 when she sold the house in 2003.
Liam Shingler was the next to purchase the house in 2004, staying for three years before selling to Alan Master and his wife Amy in 2007 for £183,000.
Mr Masters was only able to get on the property ladder with financial support from his grandfather.
He said: “The reality is it’s tough for people.
“The housing market hasn’t really done anything in the last six years, prices haven’t risen, but I don’t know where we would be if Mrs Thatcher hadn’t given people the opportunity to buy council houses back then.”