This year’s top place to live for quality of life in the UK has been named by Halifax, but some locals are being priced out by rising property costs.
The accolade for the best place to live has been handed to Hart in Hampshire for 2017 – the fifth time the district, which contains the town of Fleet, has been awarded the title in six years.
The Halifax report assessed factors such as health, earnings, crime rate and life expectancy, as well as employment rates, weather and wellbeing, to give a comprehensive view of the quality of life that can be achieved across the country.
In Hart, which is just over an hour outside London, women can expect to live an average 86.7 years, the longest in the country, and 90% of residents reported good or fairly good health over the past year. The area gets an average 32.5 hours of sunshine a week, while the national average is 29.7, and crime rates there are among the lowest in the country.
The downside to coming out on top
Hart has an employment rate of 84% among 16- to 64-year-olds, with weekly average earnings of £844, but property prices there are still unaffordable for many.
With the average home costing around £419,231, which is 8.8 times the average pre-tax local income, the region has been increasingly popular with London buyers who can get a lot more for their money in the desirable area than they can in the capital.
However, with the London housing market cooling, homeowners in the capital are finding it harder to sell up, according to some estate agents, which has left the local market more open to local residents.
One senior client manager at Mackenzie Smith in Fleet said: “Last year, London buyers were outbidding Fleet residents. Now, London buyers aren’t selling their properties so we’re selling more to the local market at slightly reduced prices.”
Top 10 places to live in the UK:
- Hart, Hampshire
- Orkney Islands
- Rutland, East Midlands
- Wychavon, Worcestershire
- Winchester, Hampshire
- Wokingham, Berkshire
- Waverley, Surrey
- Craven, North Yorkshire
- Richmondshire, North Yorkshire
- Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire