Purchasing a home in the countryside may appeal to many as a way of escaping the city life, but it will cost a premium to make such a move.

New research from Halifax has revealed that homes in rural areas of the UK are £46,575 higher in price on average than in urban areas – a 26% leap compared to urban property.

This figure did vary regionally though, with properties in the West Midlands seeing a rural premium of nearly £90,000 while the North East saw a lower premium of just £17,570.

It means property in the West Midlands is 88% more expensive in rural areas and this impacts mortgage repayments and on what maintenance works people are prepared to carry out.

The gap between urban and rural property is narrowing however, as property prices have risen more slowly in rural areas than in urban ones for the past five years.

Urban growth narrowing price gap

Average growth in the countryside between 2009 and 2014 was 12%, compared to an increase of 18% in urban areas – although London has seen even larger increases.

More than half of first-time buyers purchase properties in urban areas while they account for just 42% in rural areas.

High house prices in the countryside are one issue, as there is a big difference in terms of affordability – a rural property can cost 6.8 times gross annual average earnings.

That compares to urban areas where the ratio is around 5.6, highlighting the difficulties that people can face when trying to agree mortgages for rural properties.

Significantly larger deposits are required in order to make progress and some lenders may refuse finance for particularly expensive properties.

Affordability issues

Only three rural areas – Copeland in Cumbria, East Ayrshire and North Lincolnshire – have a ratio that is below the long-term average of 4.0.

Meanwhile Chiltern is the least affordable rural area as the average house price there is 9.5 times local gross annual average earnings.

Six of the ten least affordable areas can be found in the South East while the other four can be found in the South West.

One advantage of rural properties is that they are often considerably larger than those found in towns and cities – suggesting that buyers get more when they pay more.

Homes are roughly a fifth larger in rural areas, with average floor space totalling 127 square metres in size compared to 104 square metres in urban areas.

Finance availability will often be the key decision when deciding on a rural property, but searching for available mortgage deals is also important, especially in cases where an overly large deposit is not available.