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With the Stamp Duty holiday extension and 5% deposit schemes announced during the 2021 Budget, many buyers are looking for a new home. The day of the Budget was Rightmove’s busiest, with over 9 million visits to the site in just 24 hours. But which areas of the UK are the best places to move to?

Research conducted by mortgage advisors has revealed the best places to live in the UK.

Job prospects, affordability, and quality of life were the three main factors used in the research, with a total of eight metrics used, including the percentage of income spent on rent.

The team at RM Mortgage Solutions ranked 181 of the largest towns and cities across the UK on how attractive they are to people looking to relocate.

Overall, Warrington in Cheshire was ranked as the best place to move to in the UK, with a happy population, good job prospects, and low rental costs propelling this town into top spot.

Within the top ten, two spots held were within Warwickshire, with Warwick and Rugby both appealing to people looking to move locations.

Each of these areas were individually assessed with a total of eight metrics:

  • Job Prospects – number of roles available, versus number of working population residents. A score of 1 means there is one job for every working-age person.
  • Affordability – the average monthly wage in the area, versus the average monthly rent in the area. This is summarised using rental costs as a percentage of income.
  • Quality of Life – a score based on self-assessments of how residents in each area feel using four factors – life satisfaction, anxiety, worthwhileness, happiness. These are ranked and average to create a quality of life score out of 403.
  • All data is from ONS, Nomis, StatsWales and gov.scot.

The overall five best areas to move to in the UK are:

1 – Warrington

2 (tied) – Warwick

2 (tied) – Derby

4 – Crawley

5 – Tewkesbury

And the five worst:

1 – Eastbourne

2 – Harrow

3 – Tamworth

4 – Gosport

5 – Braintree

How does London compare?

When averaging quality of life, job density and affordability across all London Boroughs, London comes in 48th, with more than one job per worker, high wages of £3,162 per month, but also rental costs of £1,435 per month – 45.4% of the average salary, the highest percentage of any UK city.

If you’re mainly looking for lower rental costs, RM Mortgages compiled the most affordable towns/cities to rent in, taking into account the average salary in each area.

The areas with the cheapest rent:

1 – Derby – £590 (17.4% of income)

2 – Hull – £412 (18% of income)

3 – Barrow-in-Furness – £500 (18.1% of income)

4 – Hartlepool – £450 (18.6% of income)

5 – Stoke-on-Trent – £450 (19.3% of income)

UK Average – £854 (33.3% of average income)

Residents in Derby spend the lowest proportion of their salary on rent

Overall, residents in Derby spend an average of 17.4% of their salary on rent. This is almost half of the UK average across towns and cities, 33.3%. This city is one of the few areas of the UK that strikes a balance between high average salaries and lower rental costs, resulting in affordable living.

Hull has the lowest average rent of any UK town/city

On average, rent costs just £412 per month in Hull. This is under half the UK average of £854, and 18% of the average salary in the area. Awarded the title of City of Culture in 2017, Hull has seen plenty of investment over the past decade, with a historic old town, museums and bars/clubs encouraging people moving here to stay.

The best and the worst in each category:

Quality of Life:

Poulton-le-Fylde – 403/403

Kensington and Chelsea 11/403

Job Density:

Westminster – 4.28

Bolsover – 0.14

Monthly Income:

Tower Hamlets – £4,155

Hastings – £1,930

Rent (Median):

Hull – £412

Westminster – £2,395

Rent as a Percentage of Income:

Derby – 17.4%

Kensington and Chelsea – 82.8%

Richard Moring, Director at RM Mortgage Solutions Ltd, has this to say: “It’s really interesting to see how the results vary across the UK. Some places score very well for quality of life, but the cost of living is much higher. At the end of the day, moving location is a balancing act – one area won’t necessarily fulfil everything that you are looking for. Prioritising certain elements, or making a checklist of likes and dislikes that you can tally up, are both great ways to decide if you’d like to live in one area over another.

“Many of the areas ranking highly are well connected and have strong transport links to the largest UK cities. The top five – Warrington, Warwick, Derby, Crawley, and Tewkesbury are all situated near major motorways. You can change many aspects of a property but not the location – or the convenience of the commute.

“If you’re unsure about an area, consider testing the water by renting. A lot of time and money goes into buying a house, from researching lenders to completion. Taking the time to experience an area can be invaluable when deciding which street, part of town or property type you would like to live in.”