Rural homes are disappearing faster than the rest of America.
And a new study says you don’t have to look far for a reason to ditch a tall rural mailbox.
Rural home prices in the U.S. are down by an average of about 6 percent a year over the past five years, according the Real Estate Board of America, which has been studying the phenomenon for several years.
And rural property values are down as much as 20 percent, according Tooele, the research firm.
And as more of our homes are built, they’re going to get smaller, and it’s going to be a real challenge to keep those properties up and running.
Tooele says rural home prices are down because the average household spends $600 a month on food and other necessities, which means fewer people are living in the rural areas.
The same goes for rents, according, according.
And the more urban you are, the fewer people can afford to live in rural areas, and they’re losing their homes as well, said Tooeles research associate, David Riggs.
For example, rural New York City has a median house price of $1.3 million, which is about $300,000 below the national median, according Real Estate Institute of America data.
But that same house price in rural New Hampshire would be $1 million higher, according data from the Real Property Institute of Maine.
For Tooelem, rural home values are the most significant indicator of declining population.
“The way that rural homes are being sold, there’s a disconnect between the quality of the land and the ability of the people who live in the area to live on the land,” he said.
“In a lot of cases, it’s because of the price of the house, and not necessarily because of quality of life.”
The research firm surveyed rural residents and found that people who owned homes in the United States in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s had seen the greatest declines in rural home value, to about 9 percent a decade.
The decline in home values in the 1990s was even more pronounced, to 19 percent a time.
Tooes data also found that the median home value in rural Kentucky dropped by about 15 percent from the 2000s to 2010, to $1,737, while in New Hampshire it fell by more than 8 percent to $6,938.
In addition to these rural home market declines, rural areas also lost people.
In Kentucky, there were 4,822 people left in the county in 1950, when the Census Bureau began collecting data on county population, to the day when it had fewer than 10,000 people, according Riggs research.
In New Hampshire, there are now more than 19,000 residents, down from more than 20,000 when the census was conducted in 1960.
“It’s really interesting to me that rural areas are actually seeing a decline in people,” Riggs said.
Rising rents, rising costs and dwindling opportunities to invest in a good-paying career are among the reasons why rural homes have been shrinking, said Riggs, who is also the president of the New Hampshire Rural Business Association.
The real estate market in rural communities has changed dramatically in recent decades, according TOOA’s Riggs: In the 1950, there was a time when a person could own a home, he said, and there was only a few houses in the community.
Today, more and more people own a house, he noted.
But rural areas aren’t the only ones seeing these trends.
Many cities are also experiencing the same kind of loss of homes and businesses as rural areas over the last several decades, said Rebecca Strain, a senior policy analyst at the Institute for Rural Development.
“Rural areas are becoming more expensive,” Strain said.
The problem is that rural communities are losing people, too, she said.
There are no jobs left for the rural workforce in many rural areas and rural workers are leaving to join the urban workforce.
Toothbrush, the rural land owner, said he’s worried that as more people move to the cities, the price will continue to rise for his land.
“I have to pay more for the mortgage, because the cost of living here is way out of whack,” Tooelet said.
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