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Affordable Rural Housing

High house prices in recent years have made it increasingly difficult for people to get on the housing ladder or to rent a home at a market rent.

Despite the effects of the current economic downturn and short to medium term price fluctuations in housing, the long term problem of housing supply and affordability in rural areas is likely to remain.

In rural areas, where house prices have on average risen faster and higher than in urban areas, this has become a particularly acute problem for the young and others on low incomes.

Research has shown that a large proportion of newly formed households in rural areas cannot afford to set up home in the ward where they currently live.

As the countryside often appears to be prosperous, housing problems can be less visible than in towns and cities, but rural incomes are on average lower than urban incomes and only 5% of homes in rural areas are affordable compared to the national average of 23%.

St James's Hall, Alnwick, now converted into 9 affordable homes
St James's Hall, Alnwick, now converted into 9 affordable homes © Historic England

Historic England's position

Historic England supports the Government’s aim to increase affordable housing in rural areas.

In 2009 the guidance 'Affordable Rural Housing and the Historic Environment' was produced to help schemes to complement and enhance the historic character of our market towns, villages, hamlets and farmsteads.

Affordable Rural Housing & the Historic Environment

Affordable Rural Housing & the Historic Environment

Published 30 April 2009

This statement gives guidance on delivering successful affordable rural housing projects in historic hamlets, villages and market towns. It is aimed at those involved in enabling or providing affordable housing and at local authority planning and specialist historic environment staff.

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