This article examines recent evidence on affordability, the need for affordable housing and patterns of housing supply across the urban-rural spectrum in England. It uses adapted versions of several models derived from previous research but incorporating relatively recent data to illuminate these issues. It is found that, whether measured at the local authority or ward level, rural areas are more affordable than urban areas, within broad regions and overall. Rural areas in the North and the Midlands have greater net needs mainly because of migration and a lack the supply of social housing. Rural areas (especially further north) have seen much more new building and net gains in housing stock over the past 10-20 years, and prices grew less in rural areas over the whole market cycle, despite evidence of continuing demand. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.