Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Saturday, 13 September 2008 11:21 UK

Rural housing 'less affordable'

Dornie in the Highlands
Experts said local incomes made rural housing less affordable

The average house price across rural Scotland is 13% higher than the average in urban areas, according to figures from the Bank of Scotland.

The average rural price was 186,446, compared with 164,517, it reported.

It found the most expensive rural local authority was Aberdeenshire (average 213,559) and the least expensive the Western Isles (average 137,319).

But the average house price in rural Scotland was 21% lower than across rural Great Britain as a whole.

Suren Thiru, an economist at Bank of Scotland, said: "Housing in rural areas is less affordable than in urban areas due to a combination of higher average prices and lower average earnings.

We hope that this report is used to find a solution that benefits rural communities
Alan Stokes

"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."

The bank's fourth rural housing review also found that the average property price in rural areas was 5.9-times average annual earnings, compared with a ratio of 5.2 in urban areas.

First-time buyers accounted for just 20% of all rural buyers compared with 31% in urban areas.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations' chief executive, Jacqui Watt, said: "SFHA welcomes this report which underlines the need for action on affordable housing in Scotland's rural areas to ensure the rural population can get access to quality, affordable housing. The SFHA is working tirelessly towards achieving this."

Most expensive

Alan Stokes, the SFHA's Good Practice advisor added: "We hope that this report is used in conjunction with the evidence to the many other rural housing inquiries that have taken place in order to find a solution that benefits rural communities."

Aberdeenshire was the most expensive rural local authority in Scotland, followed by East Lothian (202,924) and Perth and Kinross (183,600).

East Lothian was the least affordable rural local authority in Scotland with an average house price (202,924) that is 6.5-times local average annual earnings.

East Ayrshire was the most affordable rural local authority in Scotland with the average house price 4.6-times local average earnings, followed by Perth and Kinross and Dumfries and Galloway (both 5.5).

'Tough' market for rural houses
25 Aug 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Scots economic growth 'slowing'
25 Jun 08 |  Scotland
Property boom 'over in Scotland'
15 Feb 08 |  Scotland
Surveyors' gloom at house prices
13 Feb 08 |  Business
Scots property market bucks trend
07 Feb 08 |  Scotland
Highlands leads house price boom
02 Feb 08 |  Highlands and Islands

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific