The first real estate bubble? Land prices and rents in medieval England c. 1200-1550
About the project
In 2015, the University of Reading won a research project grant (ref. RPG-2014-307) worth almost £200,000 from the Leverhulme Trust. The research team, comprising Professor Chris Brooks, Professor Adrian Bell and Dr Helen Killick, are examining in detail the workings of the English real estate market in the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries.
To date, the project team have collected data on the freehold property market between 1300 and 1500 comprising nearly 25,000 transactions and featuring almost 100,000 records of buyers and sellers (the largest database of this kind in existence); this is available to download below. The database contains information regarding the properties (their price, location and assets) and the men and women involved in the transactions (their social background and place of residence). This data forms the basis of three working papers, also available below.
The data has been analysed with reference to a number of specific research questions relating to the rate of commercialisation in the later medieval English economy and the role of the property market in this process. Firstly, we investigate the extent to which the medieval English property market was subject to speculative forces caused by buyer investment behaviour. We then examine the impact of broader social and economic trends on property market activity, and in particular, the impact of exogenous factors such as war, plague and political crises. Finally, we examine fluctuations in our price data for potential signs of a speculative housing bubble.