When it comes to surveys of the best places to live in the UK, many focus on happiness, culture, and connections to the rest of the country. But rarely is the attention ever turned to where might be the best place to live in terms of finances.
Salaries in London are higher than elsewhere in the UK but they aren’t high enough to compensate for the cost of living. Which towns might be a better bet from a financial perspective?
In August 2015, we set out to answer that question by comparing median wages with mortgage repayments, cost of living, and the health of the job markets in towns across the UK.
Our analysis revealed that the best place in the UK to make a living is Blackburn, with Derby, Cambridge, Sunderland, and Milton Keynes making up the rest of the top 5. Whilst London is frequently declared the best city in the UK to live in (mostly by its residents), the average mortgage repayment here is larger than the median take-home salary.
Add this to the fact that the cost of living in London is the highest in the UK and it’s easy to see why it didn’t make the top 20. Conversely in Blackburn, average mortgage repayments are just 21% of the median take-home salary and the cost of living is significantly lower.
Down at the bottom end of the table, our analysis revealed that Gloucester, with its negative job growth and higher than average cost of living, is the worst place in the UK to make a living, followed by Rochdale, Blackpool, Newport, and Burnley.
Property expert Kate Faulkner said: “In today’s modern world, people are keen to balance a successful career with a good lifestyle. However, in many areas where there is a strong jobs market, such as London, Oxford and Brighton a well-paid job doesn’t mean you have enough disposable income to achieve this, especially when you take into account the cost of owning a home.
For example, the average cost of a repayment mortgage* in London is actually higher than the median salary itself, while in Blackburn, one of the best places to make a living, the mortgage payments are just 21% of the median salary, so there is still lots of money left to have a great social life.
We regularly hear about the issues of ‘affordability’ that the younger generation are facing.
What this analysis clearly shows is that it is still possible to strike a balance between work and play and there are towns and cities you can live in with successful economies where homes and a good standard of living are still affordable. So if you want to achieve a great work life balance, it is worth researching the areas identified.”
*90% loan to value and 4.5% interest rate
See the full list of best places in the UK to make a living http://www.totallymoney.com/best-places-in-the-uk-to-make-a-living/
Image credit: “Blackburn Cathedral” by Tim Green used under CC BY 2.0