Rural house prices soar by £200 a week

Living in the country is more expensive than ever, with rural house prices rising by more than £100,000 in the past decade.

The average house price in rural Britain rose by 96% in the last 10 years, from £102,722 to £209,972, equivalent to a weekly increase of almost £200, according to Halifax.

This massive increase also beat the rise in property prices in urban areas, which was 91% in the last decade, making prices in rural areas now 20% higher.

Prices in rural areas also experienced smaller falls during the recession, slipping 20% between 2007 and 2009, compared to 25% in urban areas.

Houses in rural regions are also unattainable to most people. Prices in 2010 are, on average, 6.4 times average gross annual earnings.

As a result of the hefty price tags, first-time buyers are in the minority when it comes to purchasing a countryside home, accounting for only 27% of all buyers. This compares to 47% in urban areas.

Geographically, prices in the rural South East rose by 8.9% over the past year, more than any other region, in contrast to prices in the West Midlands, which performed the worst, dipping 1.2%.

Suren Thiru, housing economist at Halifax, says rural properties will continue to trade at a premium because of the lifestyle benefits associated with living in the country.

He adds that due to rising house prices and lower average earnings, "the housing market in rural areas has become more challenging over the past decade, particularly for those looking to get on the property ladder".

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