Rural house prices double in a decade

Rural homeowners have seen the value of their property rise by more than £100,000 over the past decade, according to the latest annual Halifax Rural Housing Review.

Based on Halifax’s own data, the average house price in rural Great Britain rose by 96%, or £102,722, from £107,250 in 2000 to £209,972 in 2010 — equivalent to a weekly increase of almost £200. The rise in rural house prices was also greater than the increase in property prices in urban areas (91%). The average rural house price is now 20% higher than the average urban house price compared to 17% higher in 2000. House prices in rural areas experienced smaller house price falls during the recent downturn in the housing market. Rural property prices fell by 20% between 2007 and 2009 compared to a 25% drop in urban areas. Rural property prices rose by 4% between 2009 and 2010 compared with a 5% rise in urban house prices and rural housing affordability has deteriorated in the last ten years. Prices in the countryside are, on average, 6.4 times average gross annual earnings. This is up from 4.6 times average earnings in 2000, but lower than the 8.2 multiple in 2007.

In urban areas average prices are 5.4 times average annual earnings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are significantly fewer first-time buyers in rural areas, accounting for 27% of all buyers compared with 45% in urban areas. Social housing provision is also much lower in rural areas of England. Suren Thiru, housing economist at Halifax, said: "With the lifestyle benefits associated with living in the countryside still resonating with homebuyers, rural properties continue to trade at a significant premium to homes in urban areas. However, as a consequence of rising property prices and generally 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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