Housing less affordable in rural areas

The most expensive rural local authority (LA) in Great Britain is Chiltern in Buckinghamshire with an average house price of £448,635. Waverley in Surrey at £396,605 and Tandridge in Surrey at £367,016 are the second and third most expensive rural areas. Eight of the ten most expensive rural LA's are in the South East; the exceptions are Uttlesford at £313,896 and East Hertfordshire £309,832 in the East of England. All ten of the most expensive rural LA's are in southern England.

Other key findings of the survey were:

Pendle in the North West is the least expensive rural LA with an average house price of £129,887 followed by the Western Isles at £137,319 and Copeland at £138,111.

The average property price in rural areas is 7.3 times average annual earnings compared with a ratio of 6.1 in urban areas

Seven of the ten least affordable rural local authorities are in the South West. North Devon is the least affordable with an average house price at £252,792 that is 9.1 times local annual average earnings of £27,853.

Copeland in the North West is the most affordable rural area with an average house price: earnings ratio of 3.9 followed by Bassetlaw in the East Midlands and Pendle at 4.5.

First time buyers account for just 21% of all rural buyers compared with 37% in urban areas

13% of the housing stock is social housing in rural areas compared with 20% in urban areas

Suren Thiru, economist at Halifax, said: "Housing in rural areas is less affordable than in urban areas due to a combination of higher average prices and lower average earnings. The difficulties for home buyers in rural locations are particularly acute among first time buyers and are exacerbated by relatively low levels of social housing provision."