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£44K – that’s the premium you’ll need to pay for a home in the countryside

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First-time buyers are priced out of rural areas, particularly in Southern England
£44K – that’s the premium you’ll need to pay for a home in the countryside

A home in the countryside is on average £44,454 more expensive than in urban areas, according to the latest annual Halifax Rural Housing Review.

That’s a 20% premium to live in a rural area across the UK, but in some areas it’s even bigger.

In the West Midlands the ‘rural premium’ is a whopping 47%, or £89,272 compared to homes in the region’s urban areas.

At the other end of the scale, the smallest difference is in the East of England where the average premium on countryside homes drops to £27,765 (or 9%).
North South divide

Property in rural areas is less affordable than in urban areas, said Halifax, with the property price in rural areas 7.6 times average annual earnings compared 6.5 in urban areas.
All 10 of the least affordable rural local authority districts are in southern England, where North Dorset is the least affordable rural district with an average house price of £361,603.

As a result, first-time buyers account for just 41% of all mortgage financed purchases in rural areas, compared to 53% in urban areas.

Copeland and East Ayrshire are the most affordable rural districts in Britain, where the average house price is 4.1 times local average gross annual earnings.

Richard Washington, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “Homeowners looking to escape to the country can expect to pay an average premium of 20% for a property. Housing affordability, particularly in the south of England, is putting a country home out of reach for many people, especially those looking to buy their first property.

“This is reflected in first-time buyers accounting for a smaller proportion of homebuyers in the countryside relative to urban areas.”

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