Country dwellers are losing out when it comes to looking for affordable housing, with the average level of house prices in rural areas at £235,324, 15% higher than the average urban price of £204,290.

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According to a new study by Halifax Estate Agents, the priciest rural local authority in Britain is Chiltern, Buckinghamshire where the average house costs £448,635.
 
All 10 of the most expensive country local authorities are in the south of England.
 
In addition, the three dearest rural local authorities – Chiltern, Waverley and Tandridge – also have the best quality of life among rural areas.
 
Pendle in the north west is the cheapest rural local authority, with the average house at £129,887, followed by the Western Isles (£137,319) and Copeland (£138,111).
 
The average property price in rural communities is 7.3 times average annual earnings, compared to a six to one ratio in urban settlements.
 
Seven of the 10 least affordable rural local authorities are in the south west, with North Devon the least affordable with the average price at £252,792, 9.1 times local annual earnings (£27,853).
 
First time buyers make up only 21% of all rural buyers, contrasting with 37% in urban areas.
 
‘Housing in rural areas is less affordable than in urban areas due to a combination of higher average prices and lower average earnings. The difficulties for home buyers in rural locations are particularly acute among first time buyers and are exacerbated by relatively low levels of social housing provision,’ says Suren Thiru, a Halifax economist.
 
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