Rural house prices

England is home to some beautiful countryside, whether it’s the dramatic peaks and lakes of Cumbria or the coastal cliffs and blue-flag beaches of Cornwall.

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But with the cost of housing on the up across the country, are prospective homeowners being priced out of these areas? And where are the cheapest rural places to live in the England?

Here’s a look at how much it costs to buy property in rural England, how this compares to urban areas, and how it has changed.

With the cost of a countryside home skyrocketing, make sure to compare mortgage deals first if you’re considering a move.

Cheapest rural places to live in England

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1. County Durham, North East - £122,818

Of all the areas in the country that are primarily rural, County Durham is the cheapest to move to. Here the average property price is just £122,818.

Located in the North East, County Durham is an area of great historical significance. Home to the city of Durham, which is known for its mediaeval cathedral and castle as well as one of the country’s oldest universities.

2. Copeland, North West - £140,165

In second place is Copeland, on the west coast of Cumbria, with an average house price of just £140,165.

Copeland is a picturesque area that covers the southwestern part of the Lake District and is home to England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. 

3. Wyre, North West - £187,615

All three of the cheapest rural areas are found in the North, with the average house in the district of Wyre costing £187,615.

Located in Lancashire, Wyre is split in two by the river that gives it its name, with Fleetwood being the biggest town in the area.

RankLocal authorityRegionAverage house price
1County DurhamNorth East£122,818
2CopelandNorth West£140,165
3WyreNorth West£187,615
4AllerdaleNorth West£188,009
5NorthumberlandNorth East£189,074
6BassetlawEast Midlands£196,345
7West LindseyEast Midlands£211,761
8Staffordshire MoorlandsWest Midlands£215,145
9East Riding of YorkshireYorkshire & the Humber£216,463
10East LindseyEast Midlands£219,054
11Newark and SherwoodEast Midlands£224,273
12FenlandEast of England£235,736
13South HollandEast Midlands£237,336
14High PeakEast Midlands£243,442
15North KestevenEast Midlands£251,503
16North WarwickshireWest Midlands£251,676
17SelbyYorkshire & the Humber£252,470
18King's Lynn and West NorfolkEast of England£257,049
19EdenNorth West£259,456
20South KestevenEast Midlands£260,317
21CravenYorkshire & the Humber£263,038
22North West LeicestershireEast Midlands£265,283
23TendringEast of England£266,027
24RichmondshireYorkshire & the Humber£266,236
25ShropshireWest Midlands£269,733

Most expensive rural places to live in England

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1. Waverley, South East - £536,336

On the other hand, the area where you’ll fork out the biggest premium to live in the countryside is Waverley, in Surrey. Here the average price of a property is £536,336.

Waverley has some of the most green space in the country and borders the North Downs, with major towns including Godalming, Farnham and Haslemere.

2. Winchester, South East - £507,658

Winchester itself is a small city, but the area surrounding it is largely rural and is among the most expensive in the country at £507,658.

The surrounding area is home to towns and villages such as Bishop's Waltham, Denmead, New Alresford, and Kings Worthy.

3. South Oxfordshire, South East - £495,695

Yet another area in the South East of the country completes the top three most expensive rural areas, at just under £500,000.

The area is dominated by the Chiltern Hills and its biggest town is Henley-on-Thames, known for the famous Henley Royal Regatta.

RankLocal authorityRegionAverage house price
1WaverleySouth East£536,336
2WinchesterSouth East£507,658
3South OxfordshireSouth East£495,695
4SevenoaksSouth East£488,621
5UttlesfordEast of England£479,509
6CotswoldSouth West£477,329
7ChichesterSouth East£456,442
8HorshamSouth East£452,139
9South CambridgeshireEast of England£443,896
10Vale of White HorseSouth East£422,393
11East HampshireSouth East£419,597
12WealdenSouth East£416,806
13MaldonEast of England£410,031
14West OxfordshireSouth East£392,925
15South HamsSouth West£384,446
16HarboroughEast Midlands£372,570
17Central BedfordshireEast of England£371,354
18Stratford-on-AvonWest Midlands£365,786
19RutlandEast Midlands£361,453
20RotherSouth East£357,146
21East CambridgeshireEast of England£354,863
22BaberghEast of England£351,243
23East DevonSouth West£348,138
24BraintreeEast of England£346,104
25RushcliffeEast Midlands£343,068

How quickly have rural house prices risen?

The average house price in rural areas currently stands at £314,500. However, back in 2017, the average cost in these same areas was just £239,842. This means that rural property prices have grown by just under a third in the past five years.

To compare, house prices in urban areas have risen from £273,224 to £328,234 over the same period, an increase of around a quarter.

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to have played some part in this. Buyers are increasingly looking for more space and are not necessarily being tied to the city for work commitments anymore.

Tied to this, fewer homes are going on sale in rural areas, with potential sellers instead choosing to stay put, which inflates prices even further.

But which rural areas have seen demand increase the most?

Rural areas with the biggest price increases

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1. North Devon, South West

2017: £217,667

2022: £323,394

Increase: 48.57%

With a five-year price increase of almost half, it seems that the rural area most in demand is North Devon. Here prices have risen from £217,667 to £323,394 over the past five years.

North Devon is popular for its beaches, dramatic cliffs and wild seas, and it also borders the Exmoor National Park.

2. Harborough, East Midlands

2017: £251,730

2022: £372,570

Increase: 48.00%

Not too far behind is Harborough, in the East Midlands, which has seen an increase of 48%.

The town of Market Harborough has been named the most liveable place in England in the past. The town also benefits from the fact that it is just an hour away from London on the train.

3. Torridge, South West

2017: £209,108

2022: £304,894

Increase: 45.81%

In third place is Torridge, which is located adjacent to North Devon and has seen house prices increase by 45.81% in the past five years.

As with North Devon, it is known for its rugged coastline and undisturbed natural beauty. The South West Coast Path also offers a defined trail to explore the best of the area.

RankLocal authorityRegion20172022Difference
1North DevonSouth West£217,667£323,39448.57%
2HarboroughEast Midlands£251,730£372,57048.00%
3TorridgeSouth West£209,108£304,89445.81%
4Forest of DeanSouth West£213,905£307,78043.89%
5North NorfolkEast of England£231,932£331,30242.84%
6CornwallSouth West£214,411£305,96942.70%
7North West LeicestershireEast Midlands£186,922£265,28341.92%
8RyedaleYorkshire & the Humber£206,372£291,79841.39%
9Mid DevonSouth West£214,578£300,15639.88%
10BassetlawEast Midlands£140,931£196,34539.32%
11EdenNorth West£186,977£259,45638.76%
12Hinckley and BosworthEast Midlands£195,747£271,36138.63%
13Isle of WightSouth East£202,637£280,34038.35%
14RichmondshireYorkshire & the Humber£193,235£266,23637.78%
15HerefordshireWest Midlands£216,230£297,37337.53%
16Derbyshire DalesEast Midlands£235,335£323,63837.52%
17High PeakEast Midlands£177,345£243,44237.27%
18North WarwickshireWest Midlands£183,402£251,67637.23%
19Newark and SherwoodEast Midlands£164,071£224,27336.69%
20South HamsSouth West£281,983£384,44636.34%
21RushcliffeEast Midlands£251,731£343,06836.28%
22FenlandEast of England£173,118£235,73636.17%
23TeignbridgeSouth West£228,820£311,46636.12%
24West LindseyEast Midlands£155,671£211,76136.03%
25South NorfolkEast of England£243,287£330,25335.75%

Rural areas with the smallest price increases

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1. East Hampshire, South East

2017: £369,426

2022: £419,597

Increase: 13.58%

Demand hasn’t necessarily increased quite so much across the whole country. The rural area where house prices have risen the least is East Hampshire, although even here they have still gone up by 13.58%.

Made up of chalk uplands, the area’s two principal towns are Alton and Petersfield, both of which have a number of historic landmarks and attractions.

2. Copeland, North West

2017: £117,323

2022: £140,165

Increase: 19.47%

At the other end of the country, the local authority of Copeland saw its average house price increase by just under 20%.

This area in Cumbria is situated on the coast of the Irish Sea and also covers part of the Lake District and is one of the cheapest rural places to live England.

3. Sevenoaks, South East

2017: £407,028

2022: £488,621

Increase: 20.05%

In third place with a price increase of just over 20% is Sevenoaks, which is amongst the more expensive rural places to live England.

The area in Kent is named after the town of the same name, which is popular with those looking to commute to London.

RankLocal authorityRegion20172022Difference
1East HampshireSouth East£369,426£419,59713.58%
2CopelandNorth West£117,323£140,16519.47%
3SevenoaksSouth East£407,028£488,62120.05%
4South CambridgeshireEast of England£366,578£443,89621.09%
5West OxfordshireSouth East£322,700£392,92521.76%
6South OxfordshireSouth East£406,605£495,69521.91%
7ChichesterSouth East£374,231£456,44221.97%
8HuntingdonshireEast of England£246,769£303,60623.03%
9WaverleySouth East£435,375£536,33623.19%
10HorshamSouth East£365,374£452,13923.75%
11Vale of White HorseSouth East£340,300£422,39324.12%
12Stratford-on-AvonWest Midlands£294,427£365,78624.24%
13WinchesterSouth East£406,361£507,65824.93%
14WiltshireSouth West£261,195£327,74125.48%
15County DurhamNorth East£97,299£122,81826.23%
16HambletonYorkshire & the Humber£220,847£279,20026.42%
17Central BedfordshireEast of England£292,543£371,35426.94%
18West DevonSouth West£230,966£293,21526.95%
19South LakelandNorth West£222,888£283,36527.13%
20King's Lynn and West NorfolkEast of England£201,512£257,04927.56%
21BraintreeEast of England£270,666£346,10427.87%
22NorthumberlandNorth East£147,768£189,07427.95%
23UttlesfordEast of England£374,689£479,50927.98%
24SwaleSouth East£233,892£299,43428.02%
25MeltonEast Midlands£215,257£277,22328.79%

The most beautiful rural counties according to social media

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1. Cornwall

Instagram posts: 8.6m

TikTok views: 580.3m

Looking at the rural areas that get the most love on social media, the winner by some distance is Cornwall. Cornwall is both the most posted about county on Instagram and also most viewed on TikTok.

It’s easy to see why, with the area being packed with sandy beaches, as well as picture-perfect seaside villages such as St Ives and Padstow. 

2. Devon

Instagram posts: 4.7m

TikTok views: 371.4m

Just up the coast from Cornwall is Devon, and that’s the county that takes second place here. Devon appears in 4.7 million Instagram posts and has been viewed more than 370 million times on TikTok.

As we’ve seen, house prices are on the up in Devon, which, like Cornwall, has some great beaches, cliffs and moorlands to explore.

3. Norfolk

Instagram posts: 4.0m

TikTok views: 173.2m

Norfolk comes in third place, with 4 million Instagram posts and more than 170 million views on TikTok.

This East Anglian county is perhaps best known for the Broads. These are a network of rivers and lakes that crisscross the east of the county and form a national park area.

RankCountyInstagram postsTikTok viewsSocial score /10
9Isle of Wight1.2m40.6m6
10North Yorkshire1.1m27.1m5
18County Durham0.2m7.3m1.5
19Isles of Scilly0.1m12.2m1.25
21East Riding of Yorkshire0.2m4.1m0.25


How much does a house cost in rural England?

The average cost of a house in rural local authorities in England currently stands at £314,500, as of March 2022.

Where are house prices increasing most?

Looking specifically at rural house prices, the area where prices are increasing the most is North Devon. Prices here have increased from £217,667 in 2017 to £323,394 in 2022, an increase of 48.57%.

However, taking all areas into account, the palace where house prices are increasing the most is Tameside, Greater Manchester. Here prices have increased from £131,577 in 2017 to £198,295 in 2022, an increase of 50.71%.

Where is the cheapest rural property in England?

The cheapest local authority in which to buy a rural property is currently County Durham, as of March 2022. The average cost to buy a property in County Durham is currently £122,818.

Will house prices drop in 2022?

Rural house prices (and prices in general) are higher than ever currently, even in the face of such economic uncertainty.

But with an increasing cost of living crisis, with inflation, interest rates, taxes and energy bills all on the rise, can house prices keep going up?

Experts on the matter don’t seem to have much certainty on whether house prices will drop in 2022. However, while demand continues to outstrip supply, it’s unlikely that 2022 will see a drastic drop in house prices.

More inspiration beyond rural house prices

The English countryside is truly beautiful, both the dramatic peaks and the coastal cliffs are some of the best rural places to live in the UK. If you are looking for inspiration for your next move why not explore more in our guides here:

Methodology and sources

To identify which local authority areas are rural and urban, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ 2011 Local Authority Rural Urban Classification was used.

The average house price in each of these areas was then sourced using HM Land Registry’s UK House Price Index reports for March 2022 and March 2017.

This was then used to take an average of the costs in both rural and urban areas and the difference between them in different parts of the country, as well as how they have increased in the last five years.

The number of Instagram posts and the number of views on TikTok videos that mention counties that are predominantly rural (according to the 2011 Rural Urban Classification lookup tables for all geographies) were also used to reveal the most beautiful rural areas to live in (figures correct as of May 20th, 2022).

About James Andrews

James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.

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