Apparently, happiness is Queen. For the first time, residents have been asked questions about their personal wellbeing, and the newly recorded data is included in the latest ONS (Office of National Statistics) survey. The 2013 Halifax Quality of Life Study has provided valuable insight into what makes an area desirable to potential residents.
The inclusion of the “happiness factor” has also seen newcomers added to the UK’s list of most desirable places to live. However, this new information did little to change the number one position. For three years consecutively, the Hampshire district of Hart tops the list and is lauded by its residents as “best place to live”. The residents of Hart find their lives to be peaceful and worthwhile, and they enjoy higher wages and lower crime than other areas included in the survey.
Boasting the longest life expectancy in the UK, Hart residents also enjoy a relatively high quality of life with incomes 37% higher than the national average. The good life will cost you while over 90% of Hart residents are considered healthy and fit; they are also paying some of the highest home prices in the UK. Halifax economists believe that the inclusion of the quality of life survey has proven that residents of Hart enjoy the highest quality of life in the UK. The measurements are across all indicators and are steadily increasing as new residents make Hart their home.
Uttlesford in Essex placed second this year, and while it doesn’t rate numbers as high as Hart, many consider it an affordable alternative. With high employment rates and steady weekly earnings, Essex performed very well this year in both quality of life and standard rankings. Some of the largest gains in the top ten places to live were South Northamptonshire (3), Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire (7) and Winchester (9). The large gains, surveyors felt, can be attributed to the inclusion of the Halifax study to the ONS.