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Rural areas 'becoming increasingly unaffordable'

Properties in rural areas are becoming increasingly unaffordable for those living and working in the countryside.The National Housing Federation (NHF) has published data which shows that the average worker would require a 150 per cent pay rise to afford a home - house prices in rural areas are now 11 times the average salary.Almost half (44 per cent) of the 50 most unaffordable places to live in England outside of London are in rural areas. In these locations, house prices are between 13 and 20 times the average salary. Workers in rural areas, dubbed POREs (Priced Out of Rural England) have been given smaller wage rises than the rest of England in the last decade, by 21 per cent compared to 24 per cent in the rest of the country. Families are increasingly feeling the effects of the housing shortage as buyers from outside their region purchase second homes in the countryside. These are often left empty outside the tourist season, putting pressure on the local economy. In South Hams, Devon, as many as one in ten properties is a second home.While younger families and workers are being forced out by the affordability crisis, the proportion of older people in rural areas is growing - the number of over 65s in these areas has risen 2.5 times faster than in towns and cities.Many of these older residents will require assistance with domestic tasks in the coming years and the NHF is warning that, without significant investment in affordable homes, rural areas will struggle to support the aging population.NHF chief executive Deborah Orr said: "We are not talking about concreting over the countryside. It's not ruining the countryside to build ten high quality, affordable new homes in our villages and 50 in market towns. That's all it would take across the land to end the rural housing crisis and help to solve the country's housing crisis within a generation." 

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