11 Oct 2017
A home in the Scottish countryside is 11% more expensive than the average urban property north of the border.
This has emerged in the latest annual Halifax rural housing review, which found that country homes in Scotland cost an average £185,713, as against £166,696 for a property in an urban area - a difference of more than £19,000.
The research also discovered substantial differences across Britain – the greatest being in the West Midlands, where the average house price in rural areas is £280,776 - £89,272 or 47% higher than in the region’s urban areas where properties cost an average £191,504.
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 – 11.4 times local annual average earnings (£31,723).
Halifax said those wishing to escape to the country on a more-manageable budget should look to the most affordable rural districts in Scotland and in the north of England.
East Ayrshire came out joint top for the most-affordable rural local authority districts, with an average house price of £128,864 and average earnings of £31,322 - giving a price-to-earnings ratio of 4.1.
Also making the top 10 in this most-affordable list are: Dumfries and Galloway (4.6); Western Isles (4.8); Shetland (5.0); and Highland (5.2).
Halifax also reported that first-time buyers account for 41% of all mortgage financed purchases in rural areas, compared to 53% in urban areas, with affordability the main reason for the lower proportion of first-time buyers in the countryside.
Scotland had five entries in the top 10 list of rural local authority districts with the highest percentage of first-time buyers.
They are: Dumfries and Galloway (55%); Western Isles (55%); Moray (53%); East Ayrshire (49%); and Shetland (48%).
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 in Britain.
"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 home buyers in the countryside relative to urban areas."
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