The UK's most desirable places to live

Nice house

The tranquil district of Hart in Hampshire has been named the most desirable place to live - for the fourth successive year.

Halifax's Quality of Life Survey saw the area top the poll yet again based on a wide range of measures, including residents' health and life expectancy, employment and wellbeing.

The survey found that the average life expectancy for men in Hart is 83 - the joint highest in the UK, while many residents enjoy high incomes, with average weekly earnings of £839, 33% higher than the UK national average of £629 a week.

There is a high employment rate, with four out of five 16-64 year olds in work, while residents enjoy some of the lowest crime rates in the country and 95% of people there have access to a good level of broadband - compared to 87% across the UK as a whole.

However, like all desirable places to live, the cost of living in Hart is much more than the rest of the UK, with house prices 7.4 times the average annual pre-tax annual income, compared to a national average of 6.2.

Hart beat four-time previous winner Elmbridge in Surrey into second place in this year's poll. Overall more than half of the top 50 were places in the South East of the UK.

Stiff competition

Martin Ellis, economist at Halifax, 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. The leafy Hampshire district scores highly on several indicators such as: health, life expectancy, employment, average earnings, school results, and even the weather. Importantly adults rated themselves highly in a recent ONS personal well-being survey; they are satisfied, happy, believe what they do in life is worthwhile and are less anxious about their lives.

"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."

Top five:
1. Hart
2. Elmbridge
3. Winchester
4. Rutland
5. Chiltern

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Your Comments

As someone who was brought up in the Elmbridge area but who has lived in Hart for more than 20 years, I am at a loss to explain results of this survey. Certainly the Council in Hart seem to have no interest in maintaining the area to a high standard.