Choosing somewhere to live is never easy. Since buying a home is always such a substantial investment, you’ll naturally spend hours researching property developers in different areas to find out where is best for you. After all, moving house is always an incredibly expensive process, so you’ll want to do everything within your power to ensure you’re investing wisely.
However, even after weighing up average house prices, crime rates and things to do in the local area, it’s still incredibly difficult to settle on a particular location. The UK is packed with fantastic places to live, each offering different benefits and drawbacks, so trying to whittle your list down to one area can soon seem completely overwhelming.
There’s also no easy answer when it comes to finding the best place to live in the UK, because it all depends on what you’re actually looking for in a new property. Fortunately, the 2019 Halifax Quality of Life Survey has helped to clear things up a bit, as the study looks into some of the most important factors to consider when buying a home:
Best Place for Employment: Orkney
When moving to a brand-new area, it stands to reason that you’d want to feel fairly confident in finding some sort of employment. After all, that mortgage certainly isn’t going to pay itself off.
According to the Halifax study, the best employment rates can be found up in the Orkney Islands, with 87.9% of 16-64 year-olds currently holding down a job. Although the area has a population of just 22,000 people, having almost 90% of residents working is undoubtedly impressive; while the gorgeous sandstone cliffs, affordable property prices and beautiful coastal villages also make this an incredibly desirable place to live.
If you’re looking to settle down somewhere a little less remote, then the towns of Stroud and Dartford also registered impressive employment rates; showing 85.7% and 85.4% respectively. For those hoping to make the most money, then the highest average salaries can be found in Kensington, Westminster and Chelsea, although property will also be significantly more expensive in each of those areas.
Best Place for Low Crime Rates: Western Islands
Nobody wants to feel unsafe in their own home and, for many people, accidentally buying in a crime-filled area is very much a worst-case scenario. Not only will high crime rates impact the future value of your home and ultimately make it harder to sell on, but they’re also bound to make you feel uncomfortable when exploring the nearby area. Of course, after investing so much money in your new property, this is the last thing you want.
In 2019, the lowest burglary rates can be found up in Scotland, where the Western Isles boast a rate of just 1.5 per 10,000 people. However, this is yet another remote area, and homeowners not wanting to live in the Outer Hebrides will undoubtedly want to look elsewhere, with the Great British Staycation Index recently revealing that St. Asaph, Chichester and Bangor are currently the UK cities with the lowest crime rates.
Best Place for Great Weather: Essex
Although the British weather has always been notoriously unpredictable, some buyers will certainly consider these conditions throughout their property search. Besides, when you don’t fancy moving abroad, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t search for better weather right here in the UK, since there are plenty of sun-soaked towns down in the south of the country.
To be more specific, the Isle of Wight boasts the largest amount of sunshine, clocking an average of 36.9 hours of sun every week—though this figure will obviously fluctuate throughout the year. However, the lowest amount of rainfall actually falls in Castle Point in Essex, with an average of just 525mm falling every year.
For those in search of great weather, then buying property in eastern England is certainly the right way to go, since this part of the country is typically much drier than others.
Best Place for Broadband Speed: Manchester and York
It’s fair to say that broadband has had a significant impact on modern society. The way we work, connect with friends and consume entertainment will certainly never be the same again, as many of us grow increasingly dependent on super-fast broadband speeds. Since so much of our day-to-day lives are now spent online, local speeds certainly need to be considered when buying a new home.
In fact, recent data from Ofcom shows that almost 700,000 UK homes aren’t receiving adequate broadband speeds, with some parts of the country struggling to keep up with the demands of streaming and modern browsing habits. According to the Halifax study, areas around Manchester and York have the best access to super-fast broadband, with the slower speeds found in more rural parts of the country.
The Halifax study ultimately named Orkney, Richmondshire and Rutland as the best places to live in the UK 2019. However, whether these areas are right for you will be completely dependent on your own requirements and budget, so you need to decide which factors are most important to you before choosing where to invest.