Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Priced out of Country; 30-Somethings' Mass Exodus as Rural House Prices Soar

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Priced out of Country; 30-Somethings' Mass Exodus as Rural House Prices Soar

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black? 07884 117069 ? dave.black@ncjmedia.co.uk

PEOPLE in their 30s have been making a mass exodus from the North East countryside over the last decade, as rural house prices doubled and incomes failed to keep pace.

Village life in the region saw a stark demographic shift between 2001 and 2011 because of a growing shortage of affordable housing for younger families, according to the National Housing Federation (NHF).

New figures show that the number of people aged 30 to 44 in rural Northumberland fell by 16% during the 10-year period. At the same time, the average house price in the county went up by 107% - from PS81,330 to PS168,628.

In County Durham the number of 30 to 44-year-olds dropped by 12% - with the average house price soaring by 108%, from PS58,405 to PS121,513.

The NHF says the figures show that younger families are quitting the countryside to raise their families - because of a combination of soaring property prices, a shortage of cheaper accommodation and incomes not rising as fast as in towns and cities.

It says the number of people aged 30 to 44 has dropped 14% in the rural North East, almost a third more than in urban areas.

In addition, the figures show that the number of children under 10 in rural areas dropped by 4% between 2001 and 2011, and the number of over-65s rose three times faster than in towns and cities (15% compared to 5%).

The latest figures come three years after the NHF predicted that more than 100,000 young people would leave the English countryside by 2012, because of a "chronic shortage" of affordable housing.

Yesterday Hexham MP Guy Opperman said: "The lack of good quality, affordable housing is a real problem across Northumberland. In too many villages and communities, younger families are often priced out of the market.

"There is a real need to build more sustainable, affordable homes, however, all too often, all we hear is developers wanting to build four to five bedroom luxury homes for the top end of the market, where the profit margin is bigger. …

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