A new 'Quality of Life' survey from Halifax, which looks at local authorities across England, Scotland and Wales, and takes into consideration 26 different factors that homebuyers may consider when choosing a place to live, has found the UK's most ideal location to have a home.
In addition, for the first time, the research also takes into account how important the survey factors are to people looking to find the perfect property, with affordability, safety, and access to parks and green spaces all proving most essential according to UK adults.
And the winner is...
Known for its many popular market towns, such as Bishop’s Stortford and Hertford, East Hertfordshire in the East of England achieves its crown thanks to strong exam results, high life expectancy, excellent health and happiness scores, and high average earnings.
All situated in the South East of England; Fareham, Hart and Horsham came second, third and fourth, with Maldon in the East of England coming in fifth. Whilst the South East and the East of England both feature four times within the top 10, thanks to Selby and Hambleton, the North of England also makes the line-up, in sixth and seventh place.
Top 50 places to live
The South East of England is the highest-ranking region, with 18 local authorities securing spots in the top 50 best places to live, including Wokingham (10th), Winchester (34th) and the New Forest (42nd).
The East of England comes second which, alongside the overall winner, boasts another nine entries in the top 50, such as St Edmundsbury (9th), Rochford (33rd) and Central Bedfordshire (37th). In third place is the East Midlands, featuring seven times, including South Derbyshire (12th), Rutland (31st) and Charnwood (38th).
Selby (6th), Hambleton (7th), Ryedale (11th) and York (48th) – all in Yorkshire and Humberside - are the only places in the North of England to make the top 50. The Scottish Orkney Islands (18th) are the only locality north of the border to feature and no London local authorities appear in the top 50. Just two London areas make the top 100, Richmond upon Thames (64th) and Kensington and Chelsea (79th). Wales’ highest placing was the Vale of Glamorgan at 126th.
Factors relating to wellbeing played a significant role in securing the top three places for East Hertfordshire, Fareham, and Hart - with high scores on general health and happiness. East Hertfordshire and Hart score well on life expectancy, where males can expect to live an average of 82.5 years, 3 years above the national average and females to 85, 2 years above the national average. Those living in Hart and Fareham score highly for life satisfaction - 8.2 out of 10 on average, compared to 7.8 for the UK. Employment levels are also significantly higher - 87.2% in Hart and 82.2% in Fareham, compared to 75% for the rest of the country.
What makes East Hertfordshire such a good place to live?
• Residents feel fit and well with more than nine in 10 (97%) reporting good or fairly good health
• East Hertfordshire has the 12th highest weekly earnings of any local authority across England, Scotland and Wales
• The latest ONS figures indicate adults living in East Hertfordshire are amongst the happiest and content in the UK with high life expectancies.
• Schools in the area also achieve excellent exam results (73.3% achieving grade 9-4 in English & Mathematics)
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax said: “With bustling market towns and picturesque countryside, East Hertfordshire has topped the table thanks to high life expectancy, good schools and health and happiness scores, with high average earnings.
“Everyone has different priorities when it comes to choosing a place to live, depending on the time of life, and personal circumstances. Affordability will always be one of the most important factors, with getting a foot on the property ladder still difficult for some people.”