Concerns over rural housing prices

Posted: 18 May 2006 11:18:54 GMT

            Property News - Concerns over rural housing prices

There are growing calls for a tax on second home owners following the publication of a new report on affordability difficulties in rural areas.

The Affordable Rural Housing Commission has found that millions of locals are finding it almost impossible to purchase a house, with wealthy incomers pushing up house prices beyond a realistic level.

"If we don't act now, more and more people will be priced out of the countryside - leaving rural communities to increasingly become dormitories for the better off and places where people go to retire or for the weekend," said Elinor Goodman, chair of the commission.

According to a recent report in the Times, 350,000 people own a second home in England, which has risen by 15 per in the last two years.

It is a particular problem in the Lake District, with the latest estimates suggesting that one in every six houses in Westmorland and Lonsdale is a second home.

According to the new report, there should be a huge increase in the number of subsidised houses available, while private development is also needed to provider the starter homes for first-time buyers.

Meanwhile, Halifax has said that the average property price in rural areas is 6.7 times average annual earnings, which compares to a ratio of 5.6 in urban areas.

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