Over the last year, we’ve seen an increasing amount of people relocating from cities to the countryside, due to factors such as more green space, fresher air and a slower pace of life.
But how do house prices in rural areas compare to those in urban areas?
We’ve conducted research using ONS data to reveal the difference between average property prices in rural areas compared to their urban counterparts, to reveal if there is such a thing as a ‘rural premium’.
The average rural property price has risen by 20.8% in the last five years, which is a 3.3% higher increase than in urban areas. There was a particular increase (6.22%) in the price of rural properties between 2019 and 2020, as COVID-19 sparked rural relocations, increasing the demand for homes in rural areas.
Harborough – 33.6% rural property price increase
Set in the beautiful rolling countryside of Leicestershire, Harborough is home to the charming market town of Market Harborough, from which the area is named, as well as many rural villages including Broughton Astley and Kibworth. House prices in the district have increased by 33.6% over the last five years, with the average house price reaching £328,172 in 2020.
East Northamptonshire – 32.8% rural property price increase
East Northamptonshire is home to Northamptonshire’s most stunning countryside, which provides the perfect backdrop for idyllic rural homes in villages such as Yarwel and Ashton. Since 2015, the average price of property in the area has increased by 32.8%.
Rutland – 31.7% rural property price increase
The rural farming county of Rutland, which is situated between Leicestershire and Lincolnshire, has seen the third-highest increase in property prices between 2015 and 2020, seeing average property prices rise by 31.7% to reach £335,024. The county has only two towns, Oakham and Uppingham, which are surrounded by vast countryside, with Rutland Water at the county’s centre.
Waverly in Surrey – £473,536 average house price
Waverly, nestled in the south-west corner of Surrey, is the most expensive countryside location to purchase a property, with an average property price of £473,536 (£363,556 more than County Durham). The area is home to beautiful countryside, dotted with notable towns such as Farnham and Haslemere.
Sevenoaks in Kent – £450,655 average house price
Sevenoaks, Kent, where the average property price is £450,655, is the second most expensive rural location to buy a house. The town area is popular with London commuters wishing to live a country life, as it is served by a commuter mainline railway. Sevenoaks is home to the popular Knole Park, which is home to over 1,000 acres of woodland and parkland.
South Oxfordshire – £438,087 average house price
Home to towns and villages such as Dorchester, Benson and Wheatley, South Oxfordshire is the third most expensive place to buy a country property with an average property price of £438,087. The area’s landscape is varied, with a mixture of wooded hills and open countryside.
County Durham – £109,98 average house price
County Durham is the most affordable countryside location to purchase a property, with an average house price of £109,980. County Durham is a stunning North East district with a myriad of countryside towns and villages, surrounded by beautiful scenery from waterfalls to moors and even a coastline.
Copeland – £136,378 average house price
The district of Copeland in Western Cumbria is the second most affordable country location to buy a home, with property prices averaging at £136,378. Copeland is predominantly rural in nature as two-thirds of the area is situated within the Lake District National Park. The area is home to towns such as Whitehaven, Muncaster and St. Bees.
Wyre – £160,562 average house price
The third most affordable rural location to purchase a house is the Wyre district in Lancashire. The district is named after the River Wyre, which runs through many picturesque towns and villages, such as Fleetwood and Garstang. The area is filled with natural beauty, including an award-winning coastline and the Forest of Bowland.
Predominantly urban areas have the highest average house prices (£302,710) in the country. However, the top ten most expensive areas to buy a house are all in London, where house prices are notoriously high due to their high demand. Predominantly rural areas are on average £27,832 cheaper than urban properties, with an average price of £274,878, which is great news for city dwellers wishing to escape to the countryside.
We looked at average houses prices according to the UK House Price Index (as of November 2020).
To determine which areas were rural and urban, we used the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ 2011 Rural-Urban Classification of Local Authorities and other geographies.