The best places in the UK to live for work, convenience and affordability

The past year and a half has brought many changes for all of us.

Most of us have been sent from offices to create workspace in our homes, while some have been put on leave.

This has left homeowners eager to relocate, whether it’s to get more space for their home office or to change their lifestyle.

Many factors come into play when choosing a new home; from the property itself to the area where it is located.

A new UK and London index created by Currys PC World in collaboration with Ring Security compares 50 major UK cities (including London Boroughs) on affordability, safety, work life, green space and amenities.

A survey of the British public also revealed what people are looking for in a new home:

What people are looking for in a new home

  • The most desirable features that a property can have are a good location, a garden, and an affordable price.
  • The most desirable features that an area can have are affordable real estate prices, green spaces and a low crime rate.
  • Since the pandemic, 1 in 10 people would like to move somewhere with more space and another 1 in 10 wants a garden or a balcony

Everyone has their own set of personal criteria when it comes to moving, but the most common things people look for are affordability and a good location. That said, only 80% visit an area before settling there, with the remaining 20% ​​happy to do so based on some online research, or no research at all.

Those over 55 are the most likely to visit the area before a move (85%), while those aged 16-24 are the least likely to make this effort (67%).

What people look for in a house seems to depend on where you live (Getty Images)

Of all Britons, Scots are the most likely to move somewhere due to the friendly locals, while those in Yorkshire and the Humber choose their location based on the landscape, and those in the South West want green spaces.

In comparison, residents of Greater London are the most likely to relocate with bars, restaurants and entertainment venues nearby.

But, with the events of last year confining us to our home, more than a third of Britons (37%) say their priorities about where to live have changed.

Many yearn for more space in their home – or just some outdoor space – while others would like to be closer to friends and family, or move to a rural location.

And while many of these thoughts and feelings are shared by people across the country, some regions have more impact on certain factors than others, for example:

  • Londoners are the most likely to say they would like a place with more space, move to a more affordable place, and be closer to friends and family
  • Those in Brighton and Newcastle are most likely to want more outdoor space
  • Residents of Sheffield want to move to a more rural location
  • Belfast residents would like to move elsewhere in the country


The safest places to live

  • 67% of Brits say they would pay more to live in a low crime area and 71% research the crime rate of an area before moving there
  • York, Poole and Swindon have the lowest crime rates, while Middlesbrough, Manchester and Kingston Upon Hull have the highest
  • Telford has the lowest air pollution, while Wolverhampton has the highest

People want to feel safe in their homes and in their neighborhoods, so the crime rate is definitely a factor to consider when moving. In fact, 31% identified safety as one of the three most desirable things in an area, with Northern Irish people being the most likely to look at crime rates when deciding where to live.

Among the 50 cities in the index, York tops the list of the safest places to live, with just 60.6 reported crimes per 1,000 people in 2020. That compares to 160.9 crimes per 1,000 people in Middlesbrough – the place with the highest crime rate. on the list. Looking at the capital, the safest London borough is Richmond Upon Thames (61.9 crimes per 1,000 people), while the city of London has the highest crime rate (796.6 crimes per 1,000 inhabitants).

Air quality can also contribute to the overall safety of an area, as it can impact your long-term health. In the UK, Telford is the least polluted place on the list, while Wolverhampton has the highest level of pollution. Meanwhile, in London, Bromley has the best air quality in the whole city and Newham has the worst.

The most affordable places to live

  • 42% of Britons include affordability in the three most important things to consider about a property
  • Derby is the most affordable place to own property (on average £ 165,000 to buy a 3 bed or £ 674 per month to rent), while London is the most expensive (£ 639,000 to buy or £ 2,000 per month For rent)
  • Bradford has the lowest monthly cost of living at £ 573 per person, while London has the highest (£ 845)
  • Derby has the highest average weekly wage (£ 779), while Bolton has the lowest (£ 478)

While affordable means different things to different people, most people have a budget in mind when it comes to moving.

Based on a combination of factors – average property price (3 beds), cost of living (excluding rent or mortgage) and weekly income – Derby ranked as the most affordable place to live in the area. ‘together.

Not only is it cheaper to buy or rent a property than in much of the UK, average weekly earnings are highest on the list of cities rated (£ 779) and monthly cost of living (£ 659 per person) is below the national average (£ 665 on average).

Bradford and Middlesbrough ranked second and third respectively for affordability, with Bradford topping the list for lowest monthly cost of living (£ 573 per person) and Middlesbrough having the lowest house prices (£ 114,000 at buy or £ 483 to hire).

Middlesbrough city center on a Saturday afternoon (Naomi Corrigan / Teesside Live)

Sadly, the capital is not doing well in terms of affordability, with property prices on average more than five times higher than Middlesbrough, with a 3-bedroom property costing an average of £ 639,000 in London .

Average weekly earnings in London are among the highest (£ 716), although this is not consistent with the higher cost of living (£ 845) and ownership. Tower Hamlets is the most affordable London borough for real estate (£ 550,000 to buy a 3 bedroom or £ 2.2,000 to rent), while Kensington and Chelsea are the most expensive (£ 1.7 million to buy or £ 4.6,000 per month to rent).

Elsewhere in the UK, Brighton & Hove and Watford are also at the more expensive end of the scale, with house prices averaging £ 425,000 in both regions and the cost of living exceeding 700 £ per month.

The best spots to work

  • Gloucester, Stoke-on-Trent and Bradford are the best places for work and life based on a combination of employment rate, commute and internet speed
  • Cardiff has the highest employment rate (82.5%), while Reading has the lowest (69.3%)
  • Hull, Huddersfield, York, Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield all share the top spot for the shortest average journey (39 minutes per day), while London has the longest (79 minutes)
  • Newport has the cheapest journey (averaging £ 30 per month), while London has the most expensive (averaging £ 150 per month)

For many people, work plays a big part in their life, so it is important that the place where they live can support it. It could be an affordable commute, good job opportunities, or a reliable internet if you work from home.

By combining the scores issued for employment rate, average travel times and costs, and internet speed, Gloucester ranks as the best place to live for work and life overall. The city has one of the highest employment rates on the list (82%), fast internet (65.4 Mbps) and below average travel time and cost (50 minutes per day / £ 60 per month).

At the other end of the scale, London comes last for work. While the capital can be seen as a city of opportunity, the employment rate is below average (75.2% compared to a national average of 76.7%) and the average commute is the longest and most expensive in the UK, at 79 minutes a day. and £ 150 per month.

Perhaps this is the reason why 61% of Londoners say they would gladly pay a little more for a property located near work (compared to 43% of Brits overall) and 69% would pay more to live in a place well served by transport (compared to 56% of Britons overall).

63% of people said they would pay more to live near a supermarket

Places with the most to do

  • 66% of respondents said they would happily spend a little more to live near green spaces and 63% would pay more to live near a supermarket
  • London has the most green space (279 parks) – particularly in Richmond Upon Thames (78 parks) – while Slough has the least (3 parks)
  • London, Liverpool and Birmingham also have the most number of restaurants and attractions

Many people choose where they would like to live based on local amenities, whether it’s entertainment, education, or whatever. This generally varies according to the age groups:

  • 48% of 16-24 year olds say they would pay more to live in a neighborhood with a good nightlife (vs. 22% of Britons in general)
  • 56% of 35-44 year olds would pay more to be close to good schools (compared to 37% of Britons in general)
  • 71% of those over 55 would pay more to be near green spaces (compared to 66% of Britons in general).

Based on the number of restaurants and attractions, London, Liverpool and Birmingham are potentially the funniest places to experience on the list, offering plenty of ways to be entertained.

However, it is residents of Belfast and London who are most likely to pay more to live near the city center, and residents of Cardiff who would pay more to be near entertainment facilities.

House hunters looking for good schools might see the allure of London, Birmingham and Liverpool, which are at the top of the list for having the most schools rated “Outstanding” by OFSTED. On the other hand, fitness enthusiasts might feel most comfortable in London, Bristol and Sheffield, the cities with the most gyms.

Finally, in terms of green spaces, London, Manchester and Birmingham are at the top of the list for having the most parks among the 50 cities on the list.

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Coy Lewallen

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