Hart, a town in north east Hampshire, has topped the 2015 Halifax Quality of Life Survey for best places to live for the fifth year in succession.
The town remains at the top of the Quality of Life Survey by scoring consistently highly across a range of categories covering residents’ health and life expectancy, personal well-being, employment, a low crime rate and good weather.
However, elsewhere in the top 10 there has been a significant shake-up, with South Oxfordshire climbing 19 places to take second place, Mole Valley in Surrey moving up 12 spots to seventh, and Guildford, also in Surrey, up 15 to eighth.
The South East dominates the table in 2015, securing seven of the top 10 places.
On average, inhabitants of Hart are the healthiest in the UK, with over 97% reporting themselves to be in good health. Women can claim a high average life expectancy of 86.6 years and for men it is 82.4 years both among the longest.
In addition, adults in Hart, according to the latest ONS survey on personal well-being, rate themselves to be among the happiest, most satisfied, believe what they do is worthwhile, and the least anxious in the country.
The other factors keeping it ahead of the chasing pack are: a high employment rate, with 84.5% having jobs compared to the national average of 72.9%; well above average earnings, with full-time gross weekly earnings of £865 37% above the national average of £630; a relatively low crime rate (9.5 burglaries per 10,000 people considerably lower than the 29.6 national average); and even the weather is agreeable, with 32.5 sunshine hours per week (compared to 29.5 for UK), and an annual rainfall of 738mm (879 mm for UK).
This comes at a cost however, and in terms of housing the cost of living in Hart is high with an average house price that is 8.0 times the average annual pre-tax local income, compared to the national average of 6.8. Nevertheless, this measure is still lower than in over half of the other areas in the top 50 best places to live, Halifax said.
Martin Ellis, housing economist at Halifax, said: “A mixture of good health, high wealth and a generally happy life continues to cement Hart’s place as the best place to live in the UK. Low crime rates, good weather, and a long life expectancy all play an important part in keeping this Hampshire district at the top of the pile.
“Many areas in south eastern England also perform well in terms of average earnings, employment rates, health and the weather. But the South doesnt have it all its own way, and there are areas in the North which score highly on school exam results, and physical environment characteristics such as low population densities and low traffic flows.”
South Oxfordshire has risen nineteen places from 21st in the 2014 survey. Residents of South Oxfordshire tend to be in good health, with 97% reporting good health, and a high average female life expectancy of 84.7 years, a full three years longer than males (81.7 years). The employment rate is 81% and those in full time occupation typically enjoy high incomes with weekly average earnings of £863. Residents rate themselves as happy and content with a high level of life satisfaction and not a great deal of anxiety.
Residents in the South East tend to enjoy the best quality of life with over half (27) of the top rated 50 local authorities being here. The East of England rates well with close to a fifth (9) of the local authorities placed in the top 50. The remainder is split between three in West Midlands, three in the South West, six in East Midlands and one each in London and Yorkshire and the Humber
Northern areas tend to receive high ratings on school exam results and environmental measures such as low population densities and low traffic flows. Areas in the south of England typically perform better than elsewhere on average earnings, employment, health and weather.
Northerners believe themselves to be less anxious and happier than in those living in the south; southerners, on the other hand, are more satisfied and content in life.