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May 11, 2009    

Affordable housing urgently needed to stem rural exodus

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by Gill Montia
Affordable housing urgently needed to stem rural exodus

The National Housing Federation (NHF) has warned that over 100,000 young adults could quit rural England over the next three years.

The body, which represents 1,200 housing associations, believes the exodus will occur unless a shortage of affordable housing in villages and market towns is addressed.

The Federation estimates that around 100,000 new affordable homes need to be built in rural areas over the next 10 years and is calling on local authorities to develop action plans.

According to NHF research, 103,000 24 to 35-year-olds could migrate by 2012, adding to the 341,000 who opted out of the countryside for urban living between 1998 and 2007.

The body’s chief executive, David Orr, says: “There’s a real danger that traditional village life will die out within a generation unless we can build more affordable homes for young people and stop what is fast becoming a mass exodus to cheaper, urban areas.”

He adds: “Rural England desperately needs young adults to support and contribute to their communities, but high house prices and a chronic shortage of affordable housing is threatening to turn our villages into family free zones.”

Waiting lists for affordable homes have increased by around 40% in rural areas over the last five years, partly as a result of rising property prices fuelled by demand from commuters, second home buyers and retired people.

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