I'm what you probably think of as one of those retirees, so I'll fill you in a bit on what it was really like to buy a house in the 1970s if you were young. For starters houses couldn't be bought "for sod all" - I seem to recall that the household income had to be at least 1/3 of the mortgage value. Note that this wasn't combined income, just (most often) the man's income. My first house cost £10.5k in 1976 at a time when I was earning under £3k per annum, so the only way to fund it was to find about £2.5k as a deposit in order to afford the mortgage payments. That took me 4 years, overtime every week and at times a second job and I sold my beloved motorbike and a few other things besides. For the first year my furniture comprised a bean bag, a mattress and a very secondhand black and white TV. At the time I bought interest rates were about 8.5% but they went up to about 11% by mid-1979 - a hair raising amount which resulted in a number of people I worked with losing their homes because they couldn't afford to keep up the payments. You also have to bear in mind that income tax started a lot lower back then and was at a higher percentage - no 20% base rate - which I doubt you knew. Compare the taxation and interest rates to today's rates, if you will, then add in the fact that many items were bought cash (limited credit). I only kept myself afloat by taking in a lodger for a number of years. I will grant you that it wasn't as hard as it is for younger people today, but thst was a world in which credit cards could be hard to come by and getting credit to buy, say, a car, as a tradesman meant going cap in hand to see some snotty, suited bank manager and basically just grovel. So things there are immeasurably easier todayIt must be a real struggle for all those retirees on here who made their cash by sitting on a property worth a fortune for forty odd years they bought for sod all in the first place.
So properties didn't cost sod-all back then, and it has always been a struggle to get onto the property ladder. I'm not saying it was harder than now - but it wasn't easy and affordable houses were (and probably always will be) "fixer-uppers"