Certainly the weather hadn't improved much in the last 35 years, and the general tone of the estate appears to be pretty much the same, although looking at the cars people are clearly a bit better off than they used to be. And, amazingly enough, the dormer survives!
Sounds pretty incredible...but is it? Not as amazing as it sounds, in truth. In finance there is an old saying: "if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Low land values
In reality, the replacement cost of such a house would not be too far below the market value with labour and materials costs much higher today than they once were, while there is still plenty of land around which could potentially be released if it were needed for new housing.
Note how both the owners of our old house and 'them next door' have knocked down shaky old carports to add an extra bedroom and a more solid garage building (as an aside, also look how at much more disposable income people have these days with interest rates stuck at effectively zero! Shiny caravans and 4x4 vehicles replace the ancient Volkswagen Beetle...).
Inflation...and then debt
Partly as an indirect result of the great loading up on household debt, official interest rates today are stuck at just 0.50 percent in Britain and have been so for more than half a decade. Compare that with the 17 percent Bank of England base rate in late 1979! Ouch (click to expand).
First there was a long period of very high inflation which meant that the price of virtually everything was rising fast, including wage prices, and then there was a huge increase in household debt as interest rates fell and the servicing of debt went from being an ongoing nightmare to a no-brainer for many folk.
Ironically, higher household debt levels today will themselves act to curb growth and keep interest rates lower than has been typically the case.
Higher debt levels
This led to plenty of property seminar types to encourage people to speculate in property in the north of England, often using 100 percent mortgages, because prices "always go up".
Since yields were higher in the north this attracted plenty of speculative capital which in turn saw investors getting burned (and counter-cyclical buyers mopping up thousands of properties at rock bottom prices in a post-crash firesale).
But what kind of growth have prices seen since 2007? Clue: it's close to a nice round number. After inflation regional UK house prices have largely been going backwards for the past seven years.
Interest rates can fall no further being stuck at the effective zero bound, and there is no such strong driver for "capital growth" as there was in the past.
Since 2007 regional prices in Britain have stalled, while in London prices have continued to rise (London prices are up by another 25 percent in the past year, so the below chart needs updating) driven by a chronic housing shortage and boat-loads of foreign investor capital.
In Sheffield's case at the peak of its economic powers (Sheffield is a steel city, best known for its stainless steel cutlery industry) the population was 577,050 in 1951. Although the city has largely reinvented itself the population is still only around 552,000 today.
This is by no means only an issue for Britain - as developed countries lose their manufacturing base and become overwhelmingly services-driven economies.
By way of an example, just like Sheffield's steel industry, Australia's car manufacturing industry is dying a long, slow death which will inevitably hurt those regions which once benefited from that sector.
As a born and bred northerner and Yorkshireman, this is intensely annoying.
Instead of considering how we might be able to generate jobs and economic growth in Britain's regions, instead we are seeing a mass migration towards London and the south-east of the country, with population forecasts predicting massive growth all around London and the home counties.
Graduates seeking higher salaries and better job prospects - in short, people like me - are sucked towards London as though it has magnetic powers. In many ways, that is exactly what the City has.
Meanwhile, so many of Britain's once thriving regions are limping along.
It's sad to see, particularly for those of us who originally hail from the north, but there appears to be very little political will to drive change in this regard.
We are seeing many of these same problems reflected in Australia - as the recent Grattan Institure recently found our capital cities are becoming more centralised instead of us considering how to grow jobs and population growth in regional centres.