The best place to live in the UK
Halifax crunches the numbers for its seventh annual Quality of Life survey.
The district of Hart in Hampshire is the best place to live in the UK, according to the seventh annual Halifax Quality of Life survey.
The leafy district has secured the top spot for the second year running. Elmbridge in Surrey, known locally as the ‘Beverly Hills of Britain’, is the runner up again.
The bank ranked 405 local authority districts based on factors including: residents' health, life expectancy, earnings, employment, crime rate, weather, traffic flow and even broadband internet access to determine the best place to live.
Here are the top ten places in the UK with the best quality of life according to the report:
- Hart, Hampshire
- Elmbridge, Surrey
- Tunbridge Wells, Kent
- Wokingham, Berkshire
- Waverley, Surrey
- Uttlesford, Essex
- Chelmsford, Essex
- Chiltern, Buckinghamshire
- East Hertfordshire
- Sevenoaks, Kent
Hart residents enjoy weekly average earnings of £1,137, 37% above the UK average of £830. But average house prices are 6.7 times average annual local earnings in the area, compared to the UK average of 5.4.
This quiet corner of Hampshire also enjoys better health, life expectancy, crime rates, weather and broadband speeds.
The top 50 places in the survey are dominated by areas in southern England, with 30 in the south east and 11 in the east.
Only six areas outside the south feature in the top 50. They are Rushcliffe in Nottingham (22nd), South Northamptonshire (30th), Rutland (36th), Solihull in Birmingham (42nd), South Kesteven in Lincolnshire (46th), and Harborough in Leicestershire (47th).
The south scores highly for weekly earnings, health, life expectancy and weather. But the north scores strongly on low house price to earnings ratios, low population densities, smaller class sizes and less traffic.
Hart came top of the survey because it scored highly across several factors but it wasn’t the top district in each category.
The highest weekly earnings were found in Kensington and Chelsea with residents here earning an average £1,303 per week.
The highest levels of employment were recorded in Suffolk Coastal where 85.8% are in work. Ribble Valley in Lancashire came second with a figure of 84.7%, followed by Adur in West Sussex with 84.4%.
The biggest homes were located in Uttlesford in Essex, Chiltern, South Buckinghamshire and Rutland, which all have 6.4 habitable rooms on average. The smallest homes are found in the City of London with an average 3.4 rooms.
The most affordable housing is in Strabane in Northern Ireland where the average cost of a home is 2.9 times local annual average earnings. The most expensive is in South Buckinghamshire, which has a ratio of 9.2.
The lowest traffic levels were recorded in the Western Isles, Highland, Argyll and Bute, Orkney and Shetland. The highest traffic flow was found in Watford.
The safest area is Orkney, which had the lowest burglary rate recorded with just one per 10,000 people. The Western Isles followed with 5.4 per 10,000 and North Norfolk had 7.3 per 10,000.
The best weather is found in Castle Point in Essex which recorded the lowest average annual rainfall (508mm) but the sunniest place is actually the Isle of Wight where residents enjoy an average of 37.4 hours of sunshine a week.
The healthiest districts are located in the south. Wokingham, the Isles of Scilly, Hart and Surrey Heath all had 95% or more households describing themselves as in good health.
Male life expectancy was found to be best in Kensington & Chelsea with males in this district living 85.1 years, which is six years higher than the national average.
The best GCSE results (in England) were attained in Sutton where 93% of pupils got five or more A-C grades, followed by Bromley (92.9%), Darlington in the North East (92.3%) and East Dunbartonshire in Scotland (91.8%).
The smallest primary school class size was recorded in the Western Isles with 15.2 pupils compared to a national average of 26. This could be down to the fact that the area also has the lowest population density with just eight people per square kilometre compared to a UK average of 251.
The lowest CO2 emissions were found in Tower Hamlets in London where on average 1.6 tonnes of CO2 was emitted per household. The national average is 2.4 tonnes of CO2 per capita.
This article has been updated with new figures