THE number of people in their thirties living in Rother has plummeted, thanks to rocketing house prices.
New figures show the number of 30-44 year olds living the district dropped by 11 per cent between 2001-2011.
During the same period, the average house price rose by 85 per cent - up from £132,918 to £245,585.
The new figures from the National Housing Federation show the number of people aged 30-44 has dropped nearly eight per cent in the rural South East over the last decade, eight times more than urban areas.
Rother saw the third biggest fall in 30-44 year olds out of all the local authorities in the South East. Top of the table was neighbouring Wealden, with a drop of 13 per cent with prices rising by 74 per cent.
But wages have not kept pace, rising 16 per cent more slowly in rural areas than in urban areas over the last five years. This means that for every £1 increase in urban wages, rural wages rose just 84p.
Warren Finney, South East lead manager at the National Housing Federation, said: “Young people are being priced out of the rural South East by rising housing costs and are moving elsewhere to raise their families. What will happen to the local shops and pubs, the village school, the small businesses that maintain rural economies, if there’s no-one left to keep them open?
“If we don’t start building more homes that ordinary families can afford, our treasured south east countryside will become the preserve of the old and wealthy. It’s up to all of us to halt this rural decline. Tell your local councillor to say yes to village life and yes to homes.”