Last week was Rural Housing Week, organised by National Housing Federation, which served to highlight some of the issues faced by those living, or looking to live, in rural areas.

The event was focused on how to make a better future for those communities and investigate the changes needed to make it a reality. This includes factors such as a shortage of affordable homes to rent and buy, increasing levels of second home ownership, and challenges to the local economy and infrastructure. 

Margaret Clarke, President of ACRE and Chair of the Rural Coalition has voiced her views and concerns regarding the need, if any, for affordable rural housing, in her guest blog for ACRE. She reports on the media coverage suggesting that there is a lack of such housing, especially in coastal communities or other tourist hotspots, and the results of the recent pandemic. 

More people than ever are working from home, and therein desiring nicer places to work from homes in the countryside, sometimes even second homes or rural ‘Bolt-Holes. The inevitable fallout from this is a dramatic increase in house prices and a reduction in the availability of homes for those who live in the area long-term. 

In turn, this impacts those on low incomes who are being priced out of the communities that they have work, social or family ties to. 

There is much to value in our rural communities, and we should celebrate the desire of people to visit and enjoy its benefits. 

The risk is, without addressing the housing needs of the local communities within the countryside, we will end up destroying much of what we love. 

- Margaret Clark, President of ACRE and Chair of the Rural Coalition 


Margarete also discusses the notions that people have a right to live and work where they choose and that the escalation of property value is simply the market working. Is this forcing low-income individuals and families out of rural towns and villages? Of course, it’s not just the poorer members of society that are struggling; teachers and carers, land workers, and even shops, pubs, and hotels are finding themselves unable to maintain a foothold in the areas they have settled in. 

As Margarete asks; does it matter? Can’t people simply live elsewhere and commute? Why do they need to live locally? 

Read the full, fascinating article HERE to find out.