Homes in the country cost 15% more than properties in urban areas, pricing many first-time buyers out of the market, figures have showed.
The average cost of a home in a rural area of Great Britain is £235,324, compared with around £204,290 in towns and cities, according to Halifax Estate Agents.
A combination of higher house prices and lower wages also means property in rural areas is less affordable than in urban regions, with homes costing an average of 7.3 times average annual local earnings, compared with 6.1 times annual pay in towns.
Rural affordability is even more stretched in certain areas of the country, with North Devon the least affordable rural area, with property prices averaging 9.1 times annual local earnings.
The 10 least affordable rural areas of the country all have house prices which are at least eight times higher than local pay, with eight of these areas in the South West.
But even the most affordable rural location of Copeland in Cumbria still has a house price-to-earnings ratio of 3.9 times local salaries, when lenders will traditionally only advance mortgages of three times a borrower's pay.
Unsurprisingly, given the high level of rural house prices and stretched affordability, first-time buyers are struggling to get on to the property ladder in rural areas. People buying their first home account for just 21% of all buyers in rural areas, compared with 37% in urban areas.
Their share of the market is even smaller in some local authorities, with first-time buyers accounting for just 7% of all buyers in South Hams in Devon, and only 10% in Bridgnorth in the West Midlands.
The problem is exacerbated by a lack of social housing in rural areas, with this accounting for just 13% of the rural housing stock, compared with 20% in towns and cities.
Suren Thiru, economist at Halifax, said: "The difficulties for home buyers in rural locations are particularly acute among first-time buyers and are exacerbated by relatively low levels of social housing provision."