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19 November 2016, 08:25
The gap between rural and urban house prices is falling but people buying in the countryside still pay around £17,000 more, a report has found.
The "rural-urban premium'' has narrowed over the last five years from 18%, or £24,228, in 2011 to 11%, or £17,231, in 2016, according to the Bank of Scotland annual rural housing review.
The gap is falling as urban house prices rise at a faster rate, climbing by 22% over the last five years compared to 14% in the countryside.
Experts believe the premium is partly down to research showing people living in the countryside are generally happier.
The most affordable area for rural property is East Ayrshire with an average house price of £127,646, followed by parts of Dumfries and Galloway with average prices of £133,462.
The most expensive areas are in East Lothian at £200,991, and Perth and Kinross at £186,512.
The report found there are fewer first-time buyers in rural areas due to the costs.
First-time buyers account for 45% of all mortgage-financed purchases in Scottish rural areas, 6% lower than in urban areas.
Graham Blair, mortgage director at Bank of Scotland, said: "Our How Scotland Lives research has shown that countryside living can have a positive impact on peoples' happiness, so it's to be expected that people will be attracted to living in the countryside and this does come with a premium.
"Affordability is often a key driver in any decision to purchase a home, with some rural regions more affordable than certain urban locations there are options for anyone considering an escape to the country.''