Booming countryside property values are pricing people out of the market
Countryside property prices are now on average £27,000 more expensive than homes in urban areas, a 35% increase in the premium compared to £20,000 in 2001.
On average, rural house prices have shot up by £69,170 in the past decade, compared to £62,223 for urban areas, according to Halifax.
The soaring price of rural properties has meant many people on average or low incomes are being priced out of the market.
South pricier than North
Unsurprisingly, the South West has the highest number of least-affordable areas to live – places measured by the house price to the average salary.
Rural house prices in the South are now 52% higher than in the North, with the average price at £252,696 in the South and £166,167 in the North.
West Dorset is the number one least-affordable area in Britain, followed by Torridge and then Mid Devon. In fact, the only two areas in this list not in the South West are Ceredigion in Wales and South Lakeland in the North West.
But these prices are not just specific to rural areas. In the third quarter, Nationwide placed the North as the least expensive region with house prices at £116,610 and London as the most expensive with prices hitting £295,024.
Nitesh Patel, spokesperson for Halifax, says: "Living in the countryside is an aspiration for many homeowners, attracted by the prospect of a better quality of life, open space and a cleaner environment.
"The side effect of rising property values is that housing affordability has become an increasing concern in many rural areas, particularly in the South, where in all areas those on average incomes will find it difficult to enter the market. This, in turn, is having an adverse impact on the numbers of first-time buyers in these areas."
Changes in rural house prices by region, 2001-2011
|REGION||HOUSE PRICES 2001 (£)*||HOUSE PRICES 2011 (£)*||10 YEAR % CHANGE|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||92,673||166,042||79%|
|East of England||146,697||221,637||51%|
|Rural Great Britain||127,146||196,316||54%|
|Urban Great Britain||107,130||169,353||58%|
*12 months to August,
Source: Halifax House Price Database