Buyers paying a £52,000 premium for country living

Not cheap: The rural idyll can be costly. Picture: Getty

Not cheap: The rural idyll can be costly. Picture: Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

British buyers are paying a premium to live in the country, with the typical rural home costing 24 per cent more than its urban equivalent.

According to new research from Halifax, owning a home in the country costs an extra £52,917 on average.

Property in rural areas was found to cost 7.8 times the average annual earnings, compared to 6.1 times the average in cities.

It does balance out, though: the price paid per metre squared is practically the same, with the average rural home costing £2,100 per square metre compared to the £2,135 per square metre typically paid for the urban equivalent.

But with an average size of 130 metres squared in the country, compared to 105 metres squared in urban areas, there is a difference of 23 per cent.

Not surprisingly, all 10 of the least affordable rural local authority districts are in southern England, with Chichester in West Sussex topping the bill; the average house price here is £456,574, 12.3 times the local annual average earnings of £37,188.

Waverley in Surrey is the most expensive rural area in Britain with an average house price of £511,174, followed by Sevenoaks (£481,642), Winchester (£464,694) and Chichester.

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The smallest disparity between city and country life is in the East of England – which includes Hertfordshire – where the average premium on countryside homes stands at just £18,857.

Andrew Bickers, Mortgages Director at Halifax, said: “The countryside is a draw for many homeowners looking to escape the pressures of city life. As well as being able to enjoy the wide open spaces of the countryside, homeowners will also find that rural homes offer on average, around 20 per cent more space per square metre than their urban counterparts.

“Housing affordability, particularly in the south of England, is still to an extent putting out of town country houses out of reach for many who would prefer country life, especially those looking to buy their first property. This is reflected in first-time buyers accounting for a smaller proportion of homebuyers in the countryside than in urban areas.”