This week, it’s 2003.
• Average house price: £135,444
• Base rate at year-end: 3.75%
• House Price Inflation: 15.6%
• General inflation: 2.9%
• Oscar Best Picture Winner: Chicago
• Best-selling album: Dido – Life for Rent
• Must-have Christmas toy: Beyblade (multi-coloured spinning top)
• Christmas number one: Michael Andrews and Gary Jules: Mad World
Mortgage/housing market highlights
This was an eventful year for the housing and mortgage markets, for those of us who can remember.
House price growth was raging at an average of 15.3% for the year, after several years of strong growth. By year-end, gross mortgage lending had hit £277bn but the year was notable for its Budget, when Chancellor Gordon Brown commissioned David Miles to review the supply and demand factors behind the development of the fixed rate market. Sir Mervyn King also began his ten-year tenure as governor of the Bank of England and the aptly named Kensington made its move from its namesake location to new offices in Paddington.
The year’s highlights
30 January – Richard Colvin Reid, the so-called “shoe bomber” is sentenced to life imprisonment by a United States court.
15 February – In London, more than 2m people demonstrate against the Iraq War, the largest demonstration in British history.
17 February – The London congestion charge comes into operation.
20 March – 2003 Iraq war: Land troops from United Kingdom join troops from the United States, Australia and Poland in the invasion of Iraq.
The BBC announces that the hugely popular character Den Watts will return to its soap opera EastEnders later this year, 14 years after he was supposedly killed off.
29 May – Andrew Gilligan broadcasts a report on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme stating that the government claimed in its dossier that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes knowing the claim was dubious. Gilligan’s source was David Kelly, a weapons expert.
President Vladimir Putin becomes the first Russian head of state to visit Britain officially since Tsar Alexander II in 1874.
2 July – Chelsea F.C. are bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich for £150m from current chairman Ken Bates, 21 years after he bought the club for £1
18 July – David Kelly is found dead near his home in Oxfordshire — police suspect that he committed suicide.
3 August – Police use the taser for the first time.
10 August – Brogdale enters the UK Weather Records for the highest ever recorded temperature of 38.5 °C during Britain’s hottest summer for 13 years.
4 September – The Bull Ring shopping centre in Birmingham is officially opened
24 October – Supersonic aircraft Concorde makes its final commercial flights after 27 years.
29 October – Iain Duncan-Smith resigns after just over two years as leader of the Conservative Party.
4 November – Channel 4’s soap opera Brookside, on air since the station was launched, finishes after 21 years.
22 November – England are rugby world champions after defeating Australia 20-17 after extra time
Ian Huntley is found guilty of the Soham Murders and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey.
Saddam Hussein is found hiding at the bottom of a hole and captured in Operation Red Dawn
And that was the year that was 2003..