Rural communities could disappear unless a solution to the affordable housing crisis is found, a new report has revealed. Jim Gerrard reports.
Rural communities could disappear unless a solution to the affordable housing crisis is found, a new report has revealed.
The study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found the cost of rural housing was far greater than similar housing in urban areas, which meant young people were effectively being forced out.
Darren Baxter, IPPR fellow researcher, said: “The high cost of housing in rural areas poses a threat to rural life. Without somewhere affordable to live, young people will leave the countryside, services will close and villages could face terminal decline.”
The research highlighted the average rural house price was £320,700, more than £87,000 higher than the average house price in London of £233,600.
It also claimed 8 per cent of rural housing was classed as affordable, compared to 20 per cent in urban areas.
The report authors underlined the population of rural dwellers was set to ‘age rapidly’ over the next two decades, ‘which could be accelerated if rural communities continue to lack affordable homes for working aged people’.
Luke Murphy, associate director at IPPR, said: “At the heart of this crisis is a huge shortage of affordable homes and the failure of successive governments to develop policies which meet the needs of rural areas.”
The IPPR called on the Government to strike a new deal on affordable housing in rural areas.
Mr Murphy added: “We are calling for a new deal on housing for rural communities. This must include a new rural affordable homes programme, reform of the planning process to allow for the provision of affordable homes in villages, and a commitment to put the needs of rural areas at the heart of government policy making.”