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Balancing the housing market, improving the quality of housing stock, and enabling the provision of affordable housing are all key issues which concern rural local authorities.  These are often topical issues and the Housing section of the Observatory considers what the data available can tell us about the position in rural communities, and what challenges rural communities might face in the future.

To inform and contextualise a local authority area's housing situation, factsheets have been produced for our member authorities providing a wide range of facts, figures and associated graphs. The factsheets provide rural and urban averages, and averages for the classification of the authority (for example district, unitary or county average).

The provision of additional affordable housing is important in two regards. First, there is the natural need to provide affordable housing within local communities to allow family and community networks to thrive and develop. It is also important however for local authorities to ensure there is a provision of additional affordable housing since it is linked to local authority funding of services. It is the basis of the grant calculation for the New Homes Bonus.

Second home ownership in rural communities continues to be a hotly debated subject, bringing with it arguments from both sides. 

The below analysis looks at the level of second home ownership in local authorities over the years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, and provides a relative comparison to similarly rurally ranked local authorities.

The energy efficiency of housing stock might indicate both the quality of housing stock in an area and the relative prosperity of the residents, and their financial ability to maintain their homes.  As such, the below analysis is an interesting view of the difference between Predominantly Rural and Predominantly Urban authority areas.  The analysis also shows the position for a chosen local authority area.

Housing supply is a constant issue of concern for both policy makers and for those wishing to join the property market. With this in mind, the following analysis takes a look at the house building statistics showing the number of permanent dwellings started and the number of dwellings completed for your local authority of interest.

Homelessness is not an issue isolated to urban areas.  This analysis takes a look at homelessness and homelessness provision in your local authority area.

This analysis looks at house prices for the period Q1-Q4 2015, for a chosen authority and housing type. Comparison is provided to the regional, English and rural/urban housing prices.

The analysis will continue to be brought up to date as new data becomes available.

Data comes from UK House Price Index (UK HPI data published by Land Registry © Crown copyright 2016.)

This analysis presents the UK House Price Index (UK HPI data published by Land Registry © Crown copyright 2016.) and associated affordability ratios for a chosen local authority area

The provision of affordable housing in rural areas is an issue that has many implications for the future of communities. As such, the analysis 'A Brief Look at Housing' uses housing statistics published by the Department for Communities & Local Government to explore the situation in a chosen local authority area, and compares it to the average for similarly rural areas.

When looking at the social mix of people living in the most rural settlements, there is a strong feeling among many that the needs of the poorest are not being met by the provision of sufficient affordable housing, .... (to continue reading, please open the attached PDF)


The online article 'The 62 areas where houses are less affordable than London', taken from the BBC News website, reflects the struggles of many people living in or looking to move to rural areas.  The pressure of housing affordability for local people wishing to put down roots in their own community is felt throughout rural England. 

Based on a review of fuel poverty by Professor Sir John Hills, the Department of Energy & Climate Change has employed a new measure of fuel poverty.  This analysis shows how the change in methodology has moved the measure of fuel poverty in your area.

A household is said to be in fuel poverty if it spends more than 10% of its income on fuel to maintain a satisfactory heating regime (usually 21 degrees for the main living area, and 18 degrees for other occupied rooms).

Household budgets are increasingly stretched in meeting basic living costs. Using key measures, the financial pressures experienced by the average household can provide a picture of the relative cost of rural life.

One measure of sparsity in rural areas examines the percentage of households within a given distance.

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