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Workers need 150% pay rise to remain in countryside as second home menace bites

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Workers need 150% pay rise to remain in countryside as second home menace bites

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Workers need 150% pay rise to remain in countryside as second home menace bites Workers need 150% pay rise to remain in countryside as second home menace bites

The average person living and working in the countryside would need a 150% pay rise to buy a home in their present location, new figures have revealed.

According to the National Housing Federation's research, people are being pushed out of the countryside as house prices soar, second homes lie empty and populations become older and more vulnerable.

Released to mark Rural Housing Week, the NHF's figures show that countryside areas have become some of the least affordable places to live in the country, with average house prices 11 times the average salary.

Around half (44%) of the 50 most unaffordable places to live in England outside of London are in rural areas.

Dubbed as POREs (priced out of rural England), workers in the countryside have actually seen wages rise at a slower rate than the rest of the country in the last decade, by 21% compared to 24% in the rest of the country.

And the NHF has found that a shortage of the right kind of properties is pushing up prices.

The menace of second homes is increasingly forcing families out of their local areas as more buyers seek extra properties in desirable countryside areas.

Second homes are often left empty outside the tourist season putting pressure on local economies.

In areas like South Hams in Devon, as many as 1 in 10 properties is a second home.

And of the 25 local authorities with the highest proportion of second homes, nearly two thirds are rural.

Whilst the unaffordability crisis in rural areas is forcing young workers and families out, the number of over 65s has risen 2.5 times faster than in towns and cities.

Recent figures project that by 2020 around 65% of over 65s (an increase of 24%) in many rural areas will need help with simple domestic tasks like shopping, washing dishes and opening screw tops.

The NHF is warning that rural areas will struggle to support the aging population boom unless more affordable homes are built ensuring families and working people can keep communities alive.

David Orr, NHF chief executive, said: “The traditional picture of the English countryside is fast becoming extinct. We know how difficult many under 40s are finding it to afford a home in towns and cities, but it’s becoming impossible for people to put down roots in our villages and market towns.

“The unaffordability crisis in rural areas is putting local shops pubs and schools at risk of closure and ageing populations are putting pressure on communities.

“These worsening problems would be solved if more affordable homes were built. We are not talking about concreting over the countryside. It’s not ruining the countryside to build 10 high quality, affordable new homes in our villages and 50 in market towns. That’s all it would take across the land to end the rural housing crisis and help to solve the country’s housing crisis within a generation.”

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