Sunday, 16 November 2014 12:51

Revealed: High cost of rural homes

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Revealed: High cost of rural homes

RURAL homes are more expensive than urban homes in all regions of England, reveals the latest research.

Countryside properties continue to command a substantial price premium over urban homes, according to statistics from Halifax.

On average, homes in rural areas in Great Britain are £46,575 (or 26%) higher in price than in urban areas, suggest figures released on Wednesday (12 November).

Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said: "It typically costs significantly more to buy in rural areas with a substantial premium existing in all the regions of Great Britain.

"This reflects the aspiration of many to own a property in the countryside. The relatively high prices, however, put rural homes out of the reach for many, particularly the young.

"This is reflected in first-time buyers accounting for a smaller proportion of homebuyers in the countryside than in urban areas."

The so-called rural house price premium exists across all regions although the figures published by Halifax suggest it differs significantly across the country.

The rural premium is greatest in the West Midlands at £88,781 (57%) compared to £17,570 in the North East (13%).

Despite higher rural prices, however, the gap with urban prices is narrowing, with property prices rising more slowly in rural areas during the past five years.

Between 2009 and 2014, the average price of a home in the countryside rose by 12% compared with an average increase of 18% in urban areas.

Between 2013 and 2014, the average price of a home in the countryside has risen by 8% compared with an average 10% increase in urban areas excluding Greater London.

First-time buyers account for 42% of all mortgage financed purchases in rural areas, compared to more than half (54%) in urban areas.

The recent outperformance of house prices in urban areas partly reflects the relative strengthening of the first-time buyer market in the last few years.

Since 2010 there has been a significant increase in the number of first-time buyers, and this group typically represents a larger proportion of the market in urban areas.

Affordability remains a big issue in many rural areas.

The average house price in the countryside is equivalent to 6.8 times gross annual average earnings.This significantly exceeds the comparable ratio for urban areas of 5.6.

At the same time, provision of social housing is lower in rural areas

Social housing provision is typically lower in rural areas of England and Wales, with 12% of the housing stock accounted for by social housing compared with 19% in urban areas.

There are only three rural areas where the ratio of prices to earnings is below the historical long-term average of 4.0.

The most affordable rural areas in the country are Copeland (Cumbria) and East Ayrshire (both with a 3.8 ratio of prices to earnings) and North Lincolnshire (3.9 ratio).

Chiltern is the least affordable rural area in Britain– measured by the house price to earnings ratio – with an average house price that is 9.5 times local gross annual average earnings.

Chiltern is also the most expensive rural area in Britain with an average house price of £477,526.

However, getting on the rural property ladder is most challenging for first-time buyers in many regions of southern England.

First-time buyers account for only a quarter of all purchases in East Dorset (24%), Waverley (26%) and West Dorset (26%).

In contrast, first-time buyers account for over half of all purchases in ten areas across the rest of Britain and more than six in ten in Pendle (62%) and Gwynedd (61%).

Properties in the country are typically more than a fifth larger than in towns and cities. The average rural home is 127m2 in size compared with 104m2 in urban areas.

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Cllr. Josef Ransley)


    Is there any evidence to support the view that low % of first time buyers in rural areas relates to choice as well as affordability given increasing migration by young to our cities?

    from Chichester, Chichester, West Sussex, UK
  • Guest (Sue Place)


    Not only are house prices high, but there are so few rural job opportunities providing the level of salary required to enable first time buyers to become eligible for a mortgage - even if they could raise a deposit. It's essential for young adults to own a car to get to work, with all the costs that entails and private house rents are huge. My children participate in and love village life but are finding it impossible to see it as a long term option.

    from Somerset, UK
  • Guest (Cllr Maureen Smith)


    It is obvious that the market will not meet housing need and mutual societies such as Community Land Trusts and Housing Cooperatives are needed to to prepare for the rapidly approaching housing catastrophe. Interestingly many pubilc services are moving out of premises as they are "going digital" making available properties, which could be used for affordable housing and buisiness.

  • Guest (Marion Ross)


    You cannot call anything a public service if all there is is a web-site. That means there is no way of ensuring any "service" at all. No people, no service. I have a 3-bedroomed house in Downham Market which wouldn't even begin to buy a studio flat in London.

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