Friday, 29 March 2013 20:45

Revealed: best rural places to live

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Revealed: best rural places to live

THE rural areas with the best quality of life have been pinpointed by an annual survey of Great Britain.

People living in three areas in the south of England claim the top three places in the 2013 Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey.

The Surrey borough of Waverley tops the survey for 2013, with Uttlesford in Essex in second spot and neighbouring East Hertfordshire in third.

Waverley residents tend to be fit and healthy, with an average male life expectancy of 80.6 years and 96.7% reporting general good health.

Many are comparatively wealthy, enjoying weekly average earnings of £888 and an employment rate of 79.9% – both well above the UK averages of £609 and 70.2% respectively.

At the same time, average house prices in the area are 5.6 times local annual gross earnings, which is below the average house price to earnings ratio for all rural areas of 6.0.

Halifax housing economist Martin Ellis said: "While Waverley is not the top area in any one indicator, its strength is that it performs strongly across the board.

"The average resident has a high weekly income, enjoys above average health and life expectancy and low crime rates.

"But while they also benefit from a big home with central heating, living there does not come with a hefty price tag, with house prices relative to earnings below the average for rural areas.

"It is the combination of factors taken together which ensure that residents in Waverley enjoy the highest standard of living in rural Britain."

The best rural areas to live are again dominated by the East of England and the South East, with Rushcliffe and South Northamptonshire in the East Midlands the only local authorities not from these two regions inside the top ten.

In total, nearly a third (16) of the top 50 rural local authority districts (LADs) with the highest quality of life are in the South East, just ahead of the East of England (13) and the East Midlands (11).

The remaining LADs in the top 50 are from the South West (five), Yorkshire and the Humber (three), and the West Midlands (two).

Rural LADs in the North typically perform better on school exam results and lower house price compared to local earnings.

They also tend to perform best on environmental measures such as low population densities and traffic flows.

Rural areas in the South tend to receive stronger ratings for factors such as employment, earnings, health, and weather.

Employment is highest in Suffolk Coastal (85.8%) in the East of England, followed by Ribble Valley (84.7%) in the North West, and Taunton Deane (83%) in the South West.

Average earnings are highest in the South East, with Chiltern (£912 per week) and Waverley (£888) taking the top two spots, ahead of East Hertfordshire (£813) in the East of England.

The biggest homes are found in Chiltern (South East), Uttlesford (East of England) and Rutland (East Midlands) where the average house has 6.4 rooms.

The most affordable rural local authority district for residential property is Copeland in the North West, with an average house price to annual gross earnings ratio of 3.0, ahead of East Ayrshire (3.6) in Scotland and North Lincolnshire (4.0).

The lowest percentage of vacant properties is found in Waveney in the East of England.

The lowest burglary rate per 10,000 households are found in the Orkney Islands (1.0) in Scotland, ahead of the Western Isles (5.4) and North Norfolk (7.3).

People in this conversation

Leave your comments

0 / 500 Character restriction
Your text should be in between 10-500 characters
terms and condition.