Tuesday, 23 December 2014 09:29

Revealed: most desirable places to live

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Revealed: most desirable places to live

RURAL districts are among the most desirable places to live, reveals the latest quality of life survey.

The tranquil district of Hart in north east Hampshire tops the 2014 Halifax Quality of Life Survey for the most desirable place to live.

It is the fourth year in succession that Hart has topped the list, which is based on a range of measures.

These include: residents' health and life expectancy, overall well-being, employment, a low crime rate, relatively good weather, and good broadband internet access.

The full top 10 places are:

1 Hart, Hampshire
2 Elmbridge, Surrey
3 Winchester, Hampshire
4 Rutland, East Midlands
5 Chiltern, Buckinghamshire
6 Uttlesford, Essex
7 South Northamptonshire
8 Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire
9 Wokingham, Berkshire
10 Waverley, Surrey

Residents in Hart tend to be fit and well – over 97% reporting good or fairly good health. Average life expectancy is the joint highest in the UK (83 years for men).

The employment rate is high with four out of five of 16-64 year olds in occupation. Many residents enjoy high incomes, with average weekly earnings of £839 – 33% higher than the UK average of £629.

Crime is low and residents enjoy a relatively good climate – with less rainfall per year than the national average (736 mm against 879 mm).

Some 95% of all households have a good level of broadband access – compared to 87% for the UK as a whole.

Importantly, the latest ONS figures indicate the Hart adult population is among the most happy, satisfied and content in the UK.

But happiness comes at a cost. It is more expensive to live in Hart than in many other places.

An average house in Hart costs 7.4 times the average annual pre-tax local income, compared to a national average of 6.2.

Elmbridge in Surrey, four times winner of the survey, has moved up to second place having dropped to sixth in 2013.

The survey shows a high proportion of inhabitants here are fit and well, with 97% reporting good health and a high average life expectancy of 81.5 years.

Employment is also high at 82%, and those in full time occupation typically enjoy high incomes with weekly average earnings of £1,104.

School performance is also strong with 84% of 15 years olds achieving five or more GCSE results at grades A-C.

Besides Elmbridge, there were several other big climbers in the overall list.

Rutland climbed 17 places to 4th spot, Chiltern climed 10 places to 5th, Warwick moved from 42nd in 2013 to 11th in 2014 and Richmond upon Thames was up 39 places to 15th position.

The main reason for these big changes is that the personal well-being of adults appears to have improved since 2013; with adults more satisfied, happy, and less anxious about their lives.

Halifax economist Martin Ellis said: "Hart tops the Halifax quality of life survey for the fourth successive year. This is a remarkable achievement given the stiff competition that Hart has from several other areas."

He added: "A regional comparison shows many areas in southern England score strongly in categories such as the labour markets and health.

"Northern areas tend to perform well on education and lower house prices in relation to earnings. In Scotland and Wales, several areas enjoy low traffic flows and burglary rates."

Southern areas tend to receive higher ratings for weekly earnings, the weather, health, and life expectancy.

Northern areas score well on education in terms of grades and smaller class sizes, lower house prices in relation to earnings, and lower traffic flows.

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  • Guest (Mike Burt)

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    I think the supporting figures demonstrate why these areas are better . More wealthy househoulds probably less people doing manual or factory type jobs . Unortuanatley the article only tells half the story. A complete waste of time and money if the writers only do Half a Jpb and are probably the sort of highly paid persons who move to these areas and push up the price of housing

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