South East dominates 'quality of life' index

House-hunters looking to settle in the UK could do worse than considering the eastern half of Hertfordshire, which has just been awarded the nation's best place to live in an annual quality of life survey.

David-Sapsted-310120a
The Halifax Quality of Life survey, which assesses a wide range of factors such as employment opportunities, earnings, housing affordability, health and wellbeing, education, transport and crime rates, gave the nod to East Hertfordshire, just north of Greater London, ahead of the Hampshire market town of Fareham.Hart and Horsham, both in South East England, and Maldon in East Anglia, rounded off the top five."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," said the Halifax.East Hertfordshire - which has its own market towns in Bishop's Stortford and Hertford - took first place in this year's rankings mainly due to a strong showings in exams, high life expectancy, top health and happiness ratings, and high average earnings.Halifax said the latest survey, based on data from the Office for National Statistics, showed adults living in East Hertfordshire were among the most content in the UK, with 97 per cent reporting good or fairly good health.Sarah Broughton, associate director at buying agent Prime Purchase, said: "It's not surprising that East Hertfordshire tops the chart as the best place to live. The countryside is unspoilt with attractive villages, good footpaths and some excellent pubs."There are good schools and easy accessibility to London if that's what you need, but yet it is still rural."The market town of Bishop's Stortford, in particular, is attractive and vibrant, and the easy commute to London make it a great place for families to live."The survey found that affordability, safety, and access to green spaces were the most important considerations when people were considering where best to live.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 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."SE England had the most entries - 18 - in the top 50 but only two London areas made the top 100: Richmond upon Thames (64th) and Kensington and Chelsea (79th).Scotland's highest ranked area was Orkney, which occupied top spot in the 2019 survey but dropped to number 18 in this year's rankings. Wales's highest placing was the Vale of Glamorgan at 126th, while Northern Ireland's best showing was Lisburn and Castlereagh at 131st.Top 20 places in the UK with the best quality of life, according to Halifax:
  1. East Hertfordshire, East of England
  2. Fareham, South East
  3. Hart, South East
  4. Horsham, South East
  5. Maldon, East of England
  6. Selby, Yorkshire and the Humber
  7. Hambleton, Yorkshire and the Humber
  8. Babergh, East of England
  9. St Edmundsbury, East of England
  10. Wokingham, South East
  11. Ryedale, Yorkshire and the Humber
  12. South Derbyshire, East Midlands
  13. South Cambridgeshire, East of England
  14. Tonbridge and Malling, South East
  15. Rugby, West Midlands
  16. Runnymede, South East
  17. Wychavon, West Midlands
  18. Orkney, Scotland
  19. Woking, South East
  20. Warwick, West Midlands

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory