8 Jul 2015

Shortage of rural homes could cause 'pensioner pockets'

A dire lack of affordable homes in England’s rural areas is pricing out young people and families and could lead to countryside ‘pensioner pockets’ warns the National Housing Federation.

A new analysis of population trends reveals the number of pensioners is set to soar across England’s rural communities by 2021, as younger generations who aspire to ‘grow up and grow old’ in rural villages and towns can’t get a foot on the local property ladder.

Disproportionately ageing populations is just one of the symptoms of the chronic housing crisis in rural England according to the National Housing Federation. With the cost of buying a home in 90% of rural areas costing eight times the average salary, and wages languishing below the national average, many workers and young families are being priced out of the villages and towns where they grew up. 

Howard Toplis, GreenSquare’s chief executive, said: “The housing crisis is not only putting pressure on urban areas but in smaller, rural communities that are struggling to sustain local business and support services to care for an increasingly ageing population. We need more affordable homes in rural districts to meet local need, and make sure that these areas can continue to thrive.”

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “Our idealistic view of the English countryside is fast becoming extinct. Workers and families aspiring to live, work and grow up in the countryside can’t find homes they can afford. If we don’t build more homes, these places will become ‘pensioner pockets’ rather than the thriving, working communities they can be. 

“All it would take to deal with the acute housing crisis in rural areas is a handful of high quality, affordable new homes in our villages or market towns. 

“The Government has committed to ending this housing crisis within a generation. To make this happen across the country now it must free up land and provide proper investment in affordable housing.”

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