Rural house prices in the UK have managed to hold their value better than those in urban areas, according to the latest Halifax Rural Housing Review.
On average, house prices across rural Britain fell by 13 per cent in the last year, compared to an average fall of 18 per cent in urban areas, meaning that the average price of a rural home at £203,535 is now a fifth higher than the urban average price of £168,376.
Just over a year ago, the difference was 15 per cent.
Rural properties are, on average, worth more than six times the average gross annual earnings, according to Halifax’s research, compared with just over five times for urban homes.
Interestingly, more than a quarter of buyers of rural homes are first-time buyers, and that is the highest proportion since the turn of the century. However, this is still significantly lower than the 44 per cent of purchasers who are first-time buyers in urban areas.
Suren Thiru, economist at Halifax, said: "Homes in rural areas continue to command a marked premium over urban locations, partly reflecting the quality of life benefits that many people associate with living in the countryside. Higher prices, together with generally lower earnings, mean that housing in rural areas remains significantly less affordable than in urban areas. The difficulties this presents for households living in the countryside are further aggravated by the relatively low levels of social housing in rural areas."
OTHER KEY FINDINGS
Rural house prices by local authority
South Oxfordshire is the most expensive rural local authority
The most expensive rural local authority (LA) in Great Britain is South Oxfordshire with an average house price of £307,518; 51 per cent above the GB rural average. Eight of the ten most expensive rural LAs are in southern England. Craven in North Yorkshire (£253,141) is the most expensive outside the south. North Lincolnshire (£122,052) is the least expensive rural LA in Britain.
80 per cent of the least affordable local rural local authorities are in the South West
Eight of the 10 least affordable rural areas – that is with the highest prices in relation to local earnings - are in the South West. North Cornwall is the least affordable rural local authority with an average house price (£230,459) that is 10.9 times local average earnings (£21,167). Hambleton in Yorkshire - where house prices are 8.3 times average earnings - is the least affordable rural area outside the South West.
Copeland is the most affordable rural local authority
Copeland in Cumbria is the most affordable rural LA in Britain with an average house price (£131,683) that is 4.0 times local average annual earnings. North Lincolnshire (4.2) and East Ayrshire (4.4) are the next most affordable rural areas. All ten of the most affordable local authorities are outside southern England.
Bridgnorth has the lowest proportion of FTBs
Bridgnorth in Shropshire has the smallest proportion of first time buyers (FTBs) in rural Britain with FTBs accounting for just 9 per cent of all buyers - a third of the GB average (27 per cent). In contrast, the Wear Valley in the North East and Ceredigion in Wales have the highest proportion of FTBs (both 47 per cent).
North East Derbyshire and Kennet in Wiltshire (both 22 per cent) have the highest levels of social housing in rural England, followed by Copeland (20 per cent).
Rural House Prices have risen by 118 per cent in the past 10 years
Over the past decade, house prices in rural areas have risen by 118 per cent (£110,132). This is greater than the 111 per cent rise in urban areas over the same period.
Penwith records the largest price rise over the past decade
Four of the ten rural LAs that recorded the biggest house price growth since 1999 - including the top two - are in the South West. Penwith recorded the highest house price growth over the period, with the average price in the Cornish rural LA increasing by 234 per cent. North Cornwall (230 per cent) and Craven in Yorkshire (218 per cent) experienced the next highest house price increases.
Source: Halifax Rural Housing Review
By Alison Steed (mymoneydiva.com)