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Can Ordinary People Afford Rural Property?

Mar 24, 2008
If you live in a busy city or town and dream of an idyllic life in the country, this could be bad news for you.

The price of rural property is rising so fast there's a danger the British countryside could become a property playground for the rich.

That warning has been issued by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in the last few weeks. It believes if action isn't taken to deal with the shortage of rural property, particularly affordable homes, first time buyers in the countryside could be totally priced out of the market.

It has released figures showing that people moving to the country have had a significant effect on local markets.

In 2005, according to figures released by the institution 105,000 people left their town house and moved into a rural property. That was up 25 per cent on the previous five years.

But the number of country homes available was moving in the wrong direction. Between 2002 and 2005, there was actually a four per cent drop in rural property completions. And since those figures released within the last month are three years' old, the situation could have worsened since then.

RICS is suggesting previously developed public land is earmarked for affordable housing. It also suggests that greenfield sites are made available for development if needed, which is sure to annoy many existing owners of property in the countryside (see also http://www.propertytoday.co.uk/Can-ordinary-people-afford-rural-property.11018.3878415.story )

The institution believes rural areas need to adapt to changing circumstances which may include building new homes. Its experts say that new housing in the countryside must not repeat the mistakes of the past, including poor standards of design. They were destructive to the beauty of the countryside, it claims.

In a separate story, if lots of people moving to the countryside is changing your dream, perhaps it will make you feel better to know that the peace of rural property in some areas could be damaged under new proposals to move flight paths.

The National Air Traffic Control, known as NATS, announced plans a few weeks ago to reorganise the UK's flight paths. And it's thought that could destroy the peace and quiet of some of the country's quietest and most beautiful areas.

Air traffic control has launched a 13 week consultation, which is due to end mid-May. It wants to hear views from anyone affected by the changes, especially those in London and the Home Counties, which are the areas thought to be most at risk.

12.5 million people are at risk of having the enjoyment of their home and garden affected. That's going to affect homeowners as well as those with property to let.

NATS is responding to problems in the current system for stacking planes waiting to land, which was designed in the 1970s. There are significant bottlenecks - and no wonder. In 1975 the system had to handle 700,000 flights. The same system handled a staggering 2.6 million flights in 2006.

It actually believes the proposed changes will be better for the UK overall. Its experts estimate that 20,000 fewer people will have to put up with the noise and disruption of low flying aircraft. But that benefit will mostly be found in towns and cities - it's people in the country who may have to put up with increased noise from planes.

Protesters believe the answer is simpler: have the UK's holding stacks over the sea and remove the noise from built up areas and the countryside.

So if you are thinking of investing in rural property, think again... perhaps you'd be better off staying in the city after all!
About the Author
More information about country property to buy see the Property Today website at http://www.propertytoday.co.uk
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