The Best UK Cities And London Boroughs to Find Your Forever Home

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The Best UK Cities And London Boroughs to Find Your Forever Home
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British Property Owners see an Increase of AT LEAST £25,000 after 10 Years of Ownership

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Finding a forever home is the aim for thousands of UK property buyers, and the search has become even more important with millions of Brits working from home during COVID-19.

In our latest study, Bequests has looked at several locational, financial and lifestyle factors to determine the best cities and London boroughs to find your forever home.

Our study revealed that Brits are likely to stay in their homes for only an average of 12 years, with this number rising to 17 years within London.

The study takes into account the quality of schools and crime levels, along with the average price and size of houses in major UK cities, and London Boroughs, as well as looking at factors specific to properties, such as size and price.

Swansea Is the Best City to Find a Forever Home in the UK

UK Cities and London Boroughs

Wales boasts the best cities to find a forever home out of the whole of the UK. The three Welsh cities ranked, Swansea, Cardiff and Newport ranked first, third and fourth respectively. Newport and Swansea are also in the ten lowest average price for properties, meaning a forever home could be more affordable, and achievable, than you may think.

Despite only ranking sixth, Sunderland is the city where individuals are the least likely to move homes. On average, Mackems will move home around every 39 years, compared to people in Nottingham who will move home every two years in order to try and find their forever home.

Reading Is the Worst City to Find a Forever Home in the UK

UK Cities and London Boroughs

Reading has been revealed as the worst UK city to find a forever home. Owners will stay in their property for around 3 years, and the city comes in the bottom 10 for other factors such as percentage of schools rated good or outstanding, number of GP’s per 100,000 patients and recorded crime levels.

The cities where individuals are least likely to find their forever homes offer some of the smallest houses on average. Aberdeen homes have an average amount of space of just 44m2, however, they have a fairly cheap average house price of £188,431. The majority of houses bought in the 10 worst cities will be sold again in under four years.

Scotland does not fare well, with both Aberdeen and Edinburgh being in the bottom 10, the lack of high-quality secondary schools in the cities pay a large part of this. However, they do boast the highest rates of GP’s per 100,000 patients, with Aberdeen having 117 GP’s and Edinburgh 125. In contrast, the highest English city is Plymouth with 97 GP’s per 100,000 patients.

Take a look at the full ranking of UK cities here:

City Number of years owners stay in the home Percentage of schools rated good or outstanding No. of active GP’s per 100,000 patients Recorded crime per 1,000 population Price per square metre Average price paid for house Average size of house (m2) Value change over 10 years Overall Score
Swansea 64 99 79 77.75 £1,395.00 £183,025 131 £42,234 7.71
Belfast 9 84 78 124.39 £1,731.60 £136,436 79 £32,750 7.17
Cardiff 63 91 70 98.36 £2,161.00 £248,767 115 £78,264 6.64
Newport 49 87 93 120.22 £1,474.00 £180,562 122 £58,635 6.63
Sunderland 39 85 55 104.84 £1,163.00 £143,027 123 £35,271 6.49
Liverpool 17 81 76 117.79 £1,245.00 £173,533 139 £51,008 6.37
Preston 7 90 59 81.87 £1,370.00 £183,950 134 £49,563 6.02
Plymouth 12 77 97 85.19 £1,789.00 £209,873 117 £59,074 5.92
Stoke-on-Trent 3 81 55 104.26 £1,124.00 £152,466 136 £45,378 5.85
Birmingham 11 79 63 96.76 £1,837.00 £203,671 111 £62,757 5.68
Coventry 13 89 58 74.23 £1,833.00 £216,249 118 £69,999 5.67
Bradford 17 72 61 130.87 £1,433.00 £137,421 96 £25,907 5.63
Wolverhampton 5 80 57 91.51 £1,428.00 £198,506 139 £58,411 5.60
Sheffield 5 79 63 94.44 £1,690.00 £199,574 118 £58,777 5.53
Nottingham 2 80 65 120.32 £1,470.00 £207,934 141 £72,790 5.43
Derby 4 74 64 107.54 £1,577.00 £205,378 130 £56,190 5.35
Newcastle upon Tyne 5 84 62 112.28 £1,714.00 £207,104 121 £56,319 5.32
Hull 5 82 41 149.08 £1,127.00 £138,189 123 £36,529 5.32
Blackpool 3 84 54 174.32 £1,107.00 £123,412 111 £28,225 5.16
Manchester 10 87 64 159.38 £1,941.00 £200,069 103 £65,858 5.13
Leicester 4 82 53 114.28 £1,692.00 £235,425 139 £78,822 5.08
Leeds 5 79 60 123.36 £1,920.00 £216,737 113 £67,582 4.98
Northampton 3 80 57 106.7 £2,045.00 £250,792 123 £95,995 4.60
Ipswich 4 81 53 117.21 £2,029.00 £251,880 124 £90,816 4.53
Portsmouth 9 88 41 112.52 £2,400.00 £235,347 98 £74,549 4.45
Norwich 2 84 59 128.96 £2,367.00 £264,838 112 £96,954 4.26
Milton Keynes 6 89 43 98.8 £2,679.00 £310,028 116 £101,368 4.22
Aberdeen 11 33.4 117 116.25 £4,265.98 £188,431 44 £32,370 4.18
Southampton 3 84 52 121.11 £2,647.00 £291,555 110 £90,264 4.16
Southend-On-Sea 7 89 55 106.32 £3,273.00 £316,478 97 £90,309 3.94
Bristol 2 77 59 108.04 £3,039.00 £329,490 108 £116,261 3.92
Edinburgh 4 34.2 125 112 £4,050.85 £286,788 71 £81,947 3.88
Reading 3 79 50 100.9 £4,206.00 £399,546 95 £122,976 2.95

Tower Hamlets Is the Best London Borough to Find a Forever Home

UK Cities

Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Bromley are the London Boroughs property buyers are most likely to find their London forever home, making East London the most desirable location. Purchasing a house in one of these areas would, on average, set you back half a million pounds, with the average price for a home in Hackney being £675,434.

Bromley is also the London Borough that saw the most sales in 2020, with 1,737 properties changing hands in the twelve month period. This could be due to properties in Bromley being, on average, larger at 100m2 than any other Borough in the top 10.

The City of London Is the Worst London Borough to Find a Forever Home

UK Cities

If you’ve always dreamt about living in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, The City of London or Westminster, you may not have been dreaming about your forever home. Coming bottom in the overall rankings in London, these three boroughs have the highest crime rates, with there being 796.56 crimes per 1,000 population in The City.

Despite this, those looking for a good property investment should look at Kensington and Chelsea, with properties increasing by £730,294 on average. These Boroughs also boast the highest number of good or outstanding schools out of the entire study, with just 5% of schools in Westminster being below par.

Take a look at the full ranking of London boroughs here:

Borough Number of years owners stay in the home Percentage of schools rated good or outstanding No. of active GP’s per 100,000 patients Recorded crime per 1,000 population Price per square metre Average price paid for house Average size of house (m2) Value change over 10 years Overall Score
Tower Hamlets 53 97 59 100.94 £8,545 £507,844 59 £234,383 7.60
Hackney 49 93 65 112.24 £8,564 £675,434 79 £253,065 7.42
Bromley 11 92 51 71.00 £5,066 £507,121 100 £201,704 7.41
Lewisham 21 90 51 91.86 £6,296 £530,087 84 £185,186 6.95
Bexley 13 89 51 67.60 £4,223 £396,596 94 £141,878 6.91
Greenwich 19 94 51 95.46 £5,434 £499,175 92 £184,248 6.87
Haringey 20 99 54 110.12 £7,101 £695,105 98 £268,114 6.85
Brent 26 96 47 87.34 £7,093 £606,070 85 £195,054 6.79
Lambeth 22 92 51 100.66 £8,437 £693,249 82 £261,455 6.76
Waltham Forest 15 97 50 85.52 £6,014 £527,081 88 £212,086 6.75
Croydon 9 82 56 87.79 £4,653 £434,425 93 £161,302 6.72
Islington 23 99 54 115.91 £9,730 £870,077 89 £290,055 6.68
Sutton 7 93 56 66.74 £5,059 £445,404 88 £161,398 6.63
Merton 16 92 56 67.50 £6,805 £627,012 92 £252,185 6.58
Richmond upon Thames 11 90 56 61.94 £8,175 £922,104 113 £327,844 6.44
Newham 28 90 45 95.63 £4,965 £398,605 80 £158,493 6.39
Hounslow 12 93 49 93.78 £5,969 £571,451 96 £202,795 6.38
Wandsworth 8 92 56 75.98 £9,661 £834,567 86 £307,862 6.35
Barnet 7 90 47 73.71 £6,668 £681,759 102 £242,052 6.35
Harrow 7 95 50 65.18 £5,768 £546,041 95 £200,709 6.31
Kingston upon Thames 4 94 56 68.51 £6,352 £591,362 93 £217,201 6.31
Havering 3 83 48 67.83 £4,185 £395,605 95 £147,977 6.25
Enfield 10 85 54 87.50 £5,328 £474,557 89 £176,672 6.24
Ealing 14 90 48 87.63 £6,814 £601,265 88 £230,538 6.22
Southwark 21 89 51 110.71 £8,782 £681,254 78 £252,661 6.15
Redbridge 6 91 46 76.24 £4,957 £461,593 93 £194,955 6.11
Camden 19 97 54 133.39 £12,671 £1,159,639 92 £392,093 5.91
Hammersmith and Fulham 27 94 46 114.25 £10,718 £1,031,966 96 £379,550 5.85
Hillingdon 8 86 43 85.38 £5,430 £474,620 87 £184,853 5.81
Barking and Dagenham 12 88 41 91.08 £3,994 £313,800 79 £113,975 5.70
Kensington and Chelsea 22 100 59 140.26 £19,439 £2,265,118 117 £730,294 5.27
Westminster 28 95 44 257.74 £16,246 £1,438,282 89 £463,883 4.99
City of London 5 100 65 796.56 £17,371 £967,346 56 £349,126 4.11

Summary

Home-buyers are always on the lookout for their forever homes, even more so given the current circumstances with the majority of people spending their time working from home. However, it can be difficult to find the perfect property, with the average homeowners staying in a property for just 12 years outside London.

By considering the factors most important for you such as property size and price, as well as external factors such as quality of schools, health provision and crime rates, moving into your forever home could also allow you to release equity, helping to improve lifestyle and living choices.

Methodology

To find the best and worst cities to find your forever home in the UK and within London, we looked at the number of years owners stay in their home, percentages of schools rated good our outstanding, number of active GP’s per 100,000 patients, recorded crime per 1,000 population, average price paid for a house, average size of house and property value change over 10 years.

To find the length of time owners stayed in their home we divided the total private dwelling stock levels in 2019 by the total property sales of that year. The average size of a house was found by dividing the average price paid for a house by the average price per square metre.

Belfast statistics are for Northern Ireland as a whole. If city data was not available, regional data has been used. Scottish school data is out of 100 and was achieved by finding the average score out of the secondary schools in the city via this article. Welsh school data looks at the percentage of green and yellow colour coded schools in the city via WalesOnline articles listing – green schools, yellow schools, amber schools and red schools.


Sources:

  • https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/cities/united-kingdom
  • https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-dwelling-stock-including-vacants
  • https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/publications/northern-ireland-housing-statistics-2019-20
  • https://statswales.gov.wales/Catalogue/Housing/Dwelling-Stock-Estimates/dwellingstockestimates-by-localauthority-tenure
  • https://www.zoopla.co.uk/
  • https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/publications/northern-ireland-housing-statistics-2019-20
  • https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/state-funded-schools-inspections-and-outcomes-as-at-31-december-2018#history
  • https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/general-and-personal-medical-services/30-september-2020-biannual-regional-and-joiners–leavers-tables
  • https://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/General-Practice/Publications/2018-12-11/2018-12-11-GPWorkforce2018-Report.pdf
  • https://gov.wales/general-practice-workforce-30-june-2020
  • https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/publications/northern-ireland-health-and-social-care-hsc-key-facts-workforce-bulletin-september-2020
  • https://www.psni.police.uk/inside-psni/Statistics/police-recorded-crime-statistics
  • https://www.gov.scot/publications/recorded-crime-scotland-2019-2020/
  • Police.uk
  • https://www.propertypriceadvice.co.uk/property-news/general-news/much-property-cost-per-square-metre-area
  • https://www.numbeo.com/property-investment/
  • https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/dfp/lps-ni-hpi-press-notice-q3-2020.pdf
  • https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/4020266/scotland-secondary-schools-results-chart-worst-best-glasgow-edinburgh/
  • https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/education/colour-codes-schools-green-2020-17664013
  • https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/education/wales-school-colour-codes-2020-17665273
  • https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/education/wales-school-colour-codes-2020-17664769
  • https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/education/wales-school-colour-codes-2020-17664446

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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of ValueWalk.com, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at)valuewalk.com - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver

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