People who live and work in the countryside face a bigger battle than ever to afford their own home, says a report.
The Rural Housing Policy Review Group, chaired by Lord Richard Best, launched its Fair Deal for Rural Communities report on Monday (23 February).
The group was set up to consider whether progress has been made taking forward recommendations from various affordable rural housing reports published during the last decade.
The report concludes that the next generation of people who need to live and work in rural communities face a tougher future than ever.
Writing in the foreword to the report, Lord Best said: There are severe housing shortages throughout the UK but rural areas face special difficulties.”
Competition from commuters, retirees and second home owners means on average rural house prices are 26% higher than in urban areas, the report says.
At the same time, local earnings are consistently lower in rural than urban area, averaging £19.700 compared to £26,900
An additional challenge is the fact that 12% of rural housing stock is social housing compared with 19% in urban areas, so housing affordability is a much greater problem.
The report calls on the government to require local authorities to set local targets for delivery of affordable housing for their rural areas against needs.