Where Should Your Next Home Be?

Looking to move home? Explore our index to learn more about what the UK's major towns and cities have to offer!

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Choosing a home has always been important. It's where you forge your base in life, after all, so it's not a decision to be made lightly!

We compared 50 of the UK's major towns and cities, as well as the London boroughs, based on factors such as affordability, safety, local amenities, and green spaces, to help you weigh up your options. We also surveyed the British public to learn more about what's most important to them when choosing a new home.

Check out the index below, to learn more about what each location has to offer.

Affordability

Avg. house price for 3-bed (£)
Avg. rent for 3-bed (£)
Cost of living per person (£)
Avg. weekly earnings

Safety

Annual crime rate (per 1,000 ppl)

Work Life

Avg. daily commute (mins)
Avg. monthly commute cost (£)
Internet download speed (mbps)
Employment rate (%)

Greenery

No. of Parks
Pollution (100=high)

Ameneties

No. of food shops
No. of OFSTED 'outstanding' schools
No. of Gyms
Tube connectivity score out of 10

Activities

No. of restaurants
No. of things to do
0 Location Population Affordability
Score
Safety
Score
Work Life
Score
Greenery
Score
Ameneties
Score
Activities
Score
1 London 8,920,076 0.00 £639,061 £2,013 £845.25 716 4.43 116.48 0.00 79 150 52.2 75.2 10.00 279 58.86 10.00 4420 788 4295 10.00 6304 2344
2 Birmingham 1,160,254 7.63 £184,000 £769 £645.59 602 6.40 96.76 4.56 44 65 52.8 72.1 4.34 53 49.55 0.26 210 76 180 1.68 1998 399
3 Liverpool 586,889 8.19 £135,000 £631 £644.96 592 4.30 117.79 3.82 55 65 50.0 73.4 7.56 35 30.20 0.26 170 64 180 2.37 1547 562
4 Bristol 577,246 5.24 £280,000 £1,213 £699.96 613 5.27 108.04 5.42 50 71 70.0 78.6 4.63 35 45.07 0.27 210 32 200 0.86 1269 210
5 Manchester 563,185 6.52 £180,000 £922 £656.95 554 0.15 159.38 2.59 55 70 40.0 72.9 5.80 117 52.96 0.26 230 64 170 0.85 2030 206
6 Sheffield 552,143 7.61 £165,000 £656 £621.15 541 6.63 94.44 3.73 39 65 40.0 72.8 7.59 44 31.58 0.26 200 26 190 0.70 1251 172
7 Leeds 511,164 8.18 £190,000 £777 £601.45 602 3.74 123.36 3.79 39 60 46.3 74.2 4.49 39 46.44 0.15 170 33 170 0.73 1699 177
8 Leicester 415,543 7.74 £188,000 £771 £625.34 592 4.65 114.28 5.73 52 56 55.0 78.3 5.22 18 39.20 0.20 190 41 150 0.41 1034 103
9 Coventry 382,073 7.29 £193,000 £825 £663.76 612 8.64 74.23 6.94 44 51 49.0 77.3 3.14 15 49.25 0.16 180 16 170 0.27 539 71
10 Bradford 356,218 9.45 £135,000 £558 £573.94 600 3.00 130.87 7.55 39 61 40.0 74.2 1.52 15 57.53 0.19 210 24 100 0.34 659 87
11 Cardiff 354,178 6.23 £225,000 £922 £652.79 551 6.24 98.36 5.50 51 65 61.6 83.0 7.10 40 33.37 0.22 180 0 170 0.75 907 183
12 Nottingham 315,987 7.37 £143,500 £703 £652.59 553 4.05 120.32 4.63 52 56 70.0 75.6 4.13 19 44.94 0.21 200 35 180 0.45 1031 114
13 Kingston upon Hull 288,028 8.14 £122,500 £534 £615.23 528 1.18 149.08 4.72 39 52 75.0 75.6 3.63 13 46.47 0.13 170 22 120 0.31 527 81
14 Newcastle upon Tyne 287,535 8.09 £155,000 £758 £604.41 575 4.85 112.28 1.43 49 60 40.0 71.9 6.75 16 31.11 0.29 210 55 190 0.51 948 127
15 Stoke-on-Trent 278,137 7.63 £130,000 £580 £647.77 536 5.65 104.26 7.55 44 75 50.0 77.7 4.43 18 43.22 0.14 150 19 170 0.40 475 102
16 Southampton 269,750 6.86 £245,000 £1,067 £646.05 635 3.97 121.11 4.02 63 55 50.0 76.2 5.59 29 39.17 0.19 150 20 150 0.40 620 102
17 Plymouth 265,792 6.85 £185,000 £776 £660.89 558 7.55 85.19 6.01 50 56 67.7 78.3 8.33 41 27.30 0.19 130 16 130 0.78 480 191
18 Derby 264,654 10.00 £165,000 £674 £659.36 779 5.32 107.54 4.96 52 49 55.6 75.6 7.07 18 29.83 0.18 170 27 150 0.29 455 77
19 Reading 258,448 5.47 £335,000 £1,256 £696.14 667 5.98 100.90 3.98 63 60 55.0 69.3 6.45 19 33.12 0.18 150 26 120 0.28 494 75
20 Wolverhampton 246,247 5.03 £160,000 £631 -1 575 6.92 91.51 3.95 44 68 50.6 72.0 0.30 12 63.22 0.11 190 27 110 0.28 428 75
21 Brighton and Hove 244,917 1.70 £425,000 £1,746 £763.44 586 6.41 96.58 6.56 63 80 70.0 80.0 7.68 16 26.40 0.25 180 14 170 0.62 1150 153
22 Northampton 230,031 5.86 £220,000 £825 £703.67 557 5.40 106.70 5.81 52 57 57.1 80.7 6.10 24 35.79 0.12 120 14 130 0.25 456 67
23 Portsmouth 229,851 6.60 £240,000 £1,067 £629.37 593 4.82 112.52 6.76 63 61 70.0 76.2 2.98 20 50.96 0.11 160 11 110 0.39 496 100
24 Luton 221,502 5.40 £275,000 £1,042 £695.91 585 6.60 94.74 3.22 61 65 70.0 80.7 5.20 6 37.30 0.08 170 18 70 0.07 282 25
25 Bournemouth 197,383 5.21 £316,000 £1,256 £606.69 537 6.05 100.26 5.76 50 61 53.8 78.2 3.98 14 44.88 0.12 150 21 110 0.18 607 51
26 Norwich 197,212 6.14 £211,000 £870 £662.51 537 3.18 128.98 2.17 61 87 55.0 78.4 7.30 43 32.87 0.16 140 30 130 0.54 588 135
27 Swindon 192,408 6.30 £230,000 £868 £694.10 595 8.76 73.04 6.67 50 55 50.0 78.8 3.55 11 46.55 0.06 90 7 110 0.16 321 46
28 Swansea 185,460 6.77 £150,000 £631 £686.64 532 8.29 77.75 4.74 51 73 50.7 77.1 9.40 37 21.21 0.10 100 0 80 0.45 532 113
29 Southend-on-Sea 185,111 3.95 £318,000 £1,159 £724.53 548 5.44 106.31 1.87 61 80 44.0 77.6 1.82 27 58.03 0.11 160 14 110 0.28 550 75
30 Milton Keynes 184,824 5.52 £278,000 £1,067 £696.44 602 6.19 98.80 3.05 63 60 40.0 80.7 9.27 14 17.99 0.19 80 26 150 0.19 462 54
31 Telford 180,134 4.87 £150,000 £656 -1 560 7.58 84.84 6.47 44 65 50.0 78.5 9.37 10 16.78 0.07 50 10 50 0.18 250 52
32 Peterborough 178,805 5.50 £191,000 £776 £746.66 549 5.70 103.72 3.58 61 64 51.6 76.5 8.39 22 23.79 0.16 170 6 80 0.21 404 59
33 Middlesbrough 177,354 8.58 £114,000 £483 £622.23 557 0.00 160.92 4.07 49 65 60.5 69.6 9.15 11 18.10 0.12 110 21 70 0.17 260 48
34 Sunderland 174,807 4.91 £125,000 £534 -1 525 5.59 104.84 0.49 49 80 40.0 71.9 2.83 12 50.34 0.00 110 14 60 0.15 338 45
35 Warrington 172,684 7.29 £188,000 £727 £666.18 592 6.87 92.05 6.00 55 50 50.0 79.3 6.85 19 31.11 0.13 110 25 110 0.28 399 75
36 Huddersfield 171,809 0.65 £160,000 -1 -1 494 5.95 101.21 4.14 39 53 40.0 74.2 5.28 12 37.93 0.08 100 27 70 0.15 398 45
37 York 164,369 5.33 £260,000 £946 £717.02 575 10.00 60.60 5.49 39 55 40.0 77.8 8.62 33 24.51 0.11 100 16 100 0.96 682 233
38 Oxford 162,291 5.06 £400,000 £1,455 £666.21 678 5.87 102.00 7.44 63 62 60.0 82.5 7.83 26 27.28 0.18 140 4 130 0.68 503 168
39 Poole 159,449 2.26 £300,000 £1,164 -1 537 8.99 70.69 5.93 50 72 53.8 78.2 0.49 18 -1 0.05 80 16 90 0.16 255 46
40 Slough 158,136 5.68 £370,000 £1,310 £665.46 681 5.47 106.06 3.31 63 90 50.0 80.2 0.00 3 -1 0.06 100 23 90 0.00 194 9
41 Bolton 152,222 3.85 £150,000 £655 -1 478 4.17 119.09 2.92 55 60 50.0 72.9 0.23 10 -1 0.03 80 42 70 0.16 475 47
42 Cambridge 148,861 4.27 £441,000 £1,382 £697.95 658 4.47 116.06 7.31 61 58 70.0 76.5 6.80 24 32.18 0.09 90 8 100 0.68 432 168
43 Ipswich 148,742 6.64 £214,000 £776 £613.6 506 4.36 117.21 4.97 61 50 51.4 78.4 5.06 18 40.00 0.09 150 13 90 0.43 327 109
44 Gloucester 147,509 6.43 £216,500 £824 £668.85 561 5.71 103.60 10.00 50 60 65.4 81.5 0.33 13 -1 0.07 120 16 90 0.26 81 71
45 Blackpool 145,821 7.43 £120,000 £582 £620.61 485 -1 -1 3.59 55 55 45.3 76.1 3.83 10 44.94 0.08 130 14 80 0.25 561 66
46 Watford 141,315 3.31 £425,000 £1,358 £734.55 608 7.05 90.21 6.57 61 99 70.0 79.4 0.30 12 -1 0.05 100 46 100 0.09 203 31
47 Colchester 138,131 5.31 £280,000 £971 £673.68 542 6.67 93.99 2.05 61 63 40.7 77.6 0.49 18 -1 0.06 60 11 110 0.26 415 70
48 Newport 136,078 4.57 £170,000 £668 -1 550 4.06 120.22 6.18 51 30 50.0 76.1 3.36 7 46.78 0.06 80 0 70 0.17 375 48
49 Preston 135,677 7.53 £145,500 £631 £591.88 486 -1 -1 4.06 55 46 45.6 76.1 9.50 16 17.17 0.16 110 24 100 0.18 411 52
50 Exeter 125,819 6.33 £260,000 £946 £634.99 565 -1 -1 6.00 50 65 52.2 78.3 8.54 9 20.86 0.16 110 10 130 0.33 306 86
0 London
Borough
Population Affordability
Score
Safety
Score
Ameneties
Score
Connectivity
Score
Greenery
Score
Activities
Score
1 Barnet 395,869 7.22 £600,000 £1,807 £578.70 9.84 73.71 7.37 170 42 90 4.07 4.06 40.0 6.74 69 11.2 3.16 180 25
2 Croydon 386,710 9.01 £425,000 £1,455 £655.50 9.65 87.79 8.77 190 33 160 2.03 0.00 50.0 5.73 66 11.2 3.46 190 27
3 Newham 353,134 8.30 £430,000 £1,724 £621 9.54 95.63 5.40 120 34 120 4.08 2.19 50.0 0.00 62 13.0 4.61 250 22
4 Ealing 341,806 7.88 £500,000 £1,746 £604.20 9.65 87.63 6.35 170 23 140 6.59 4.38 52.6 6.76 72 11.6 3.31 190 23
5 Enfield 333,336 8.08 £435,000 £1,601 £574.90 9.65 87.50 6.32 180 24 120 4.77 1.25 58.9 5.76 69 11.6 3.39 190 25
6 Bromley 332,336 8.26 £500,000 £1,528 £611.10 9.88 71.00 6.61 150 31 140 2.83 0.00 54.5 6.36 62 10.4 3.20 180 26
7 Brent 329,771 8.19 £550,000 £1,795 £670.50 9.65 87.34 5.97 160 27 120 8.17 6.56 50.0 5.43 68 11.6 3.50 180 34
8 Wandsworth 329,677 6.48 £696,000 £2,280 £614.20 9.81 75.98 5.56 120 29 150 3.79 1.88 50.0 7.04 75 11.9 2.95 170 25
9 Lambeth 326,034 7.93 £600,000 £2,182 £728.20 9.47 100.66 5.77 120 35 130 4.37 2.50 50.0 1.96 62 12.2 2.39 140 28
10 Tower Hamlets 324,745 10.00 £550,000 £2,207 £956.30 9.47 100.94 6.95 160 33 130 3.33 3.44 39.1 2.80 66 12.4 6.95 340 31
11 Southwark 318,830 8.28 £670,000 £2,227 £806.70 9.34 110.71 5.02 120 33 110 2.61 2.50 40.0 2.29 63 12.2 4.31 230 26
12 Hillingdon 306,870 8.93 £460,000 £1,551 £676.60 9.68 85.38 0.59 50 21 90 7.73 4.69 57.4 7.81 70 10.9 3.10 160 35
13 Lewisham 305,842 8.45 £520,000 £1,698 £671.40 9.59 91.86 2.69 120 20 80 0.27 0.00 40.0 2.69 62 11.9 3.43 190 26
14 Redbridge 305,222 8.06 £460,000 £1,601 £582.80 9.81 76.24 6.83 150 35 130 5.85 3.13 55.0 0.95 59 12.2 2.83 170 22
15 Greenwich 287,942 8.63 £430,000 £1,601 £638.10 9.54 95.46 3.47 120 18 120 2.32 0.31 50.0 5.37 70 11.9 3.65 200 26
16 Hackney 281,120 7.24 £680,000 £2,328 £706.70 9.32 112.24 7.72 170 28 170 2.69 0.31 52.1 0.80 60 12.4 3.84 200 31
17 Waltham Forest 276,983 8.61 £525,000 £1,661 £685.60 9.68 85.52 4.31 140 17 130 4.91 1.25 59.7 1.65 64 12.6 4.25 220 30
18 Hounslow 271,523 8.70 £470,000 £1,637 £669.40 9.57 93.78 1.91 70 26 90 8.32 3.44 67.4 5.24 66 11.4 0.13 50 21
19 Camden 270,029 6.00 £943,000 £2,879 £766.10 9.03 133.39 6.58 190 17 150 10.00 5.31 67.0 2.45 62 12.0 3.50 200 22
20 Haringey 268,647 7.86 £550,000 £1,795 £631 9.34 110.12 5.96 170 24 120 6.49 2.19 63.7 3.87 67 12.1 4.06 210 31
21 Westminster 261,317 5.01 £1,100,000 £3,573 £838.40 7.33 257.74 10.00 190 19 275 6.70 10.00 23.4 1.22 62 12.5 6.44 240 77
22 Havering 259,552 9.19 £385,000 £1,407 £650.40 9.92 67.83 0.39 50 13 120 4.09 1.25 55.0 6.22 66 11.0 3.80 210 24
23 Harrow 251,160 7.23 £525,000 £1,647 £519.20 9.96 65.18 7.28 180 32 120 5.85 3.13 55.0 5.47 63 10.9 3.76 200 29
24 Bexley 248,287 8.38 £395,000 £1,311 £541.80 9.92 67.60 3.57 140 13 120 0.94 0.00 43.8 4.83 64 11.3 0.00 44 21
25 Islington 242,467 6.95 £825,000 £2,459 £756 9.27 115.91 2.62 100 21 100 6.14 3.44 55.0 0.88 61 12.5 1.47 80 39
26 Barking and Dagenham 212,906 8.70 £350,000 £1,454 £586.20 9.60 91.08 4.12 180 10 100 4.22 1.56 54.1 1.89 64 12.5 3.87 220 20
27 Merton 206,548 7.75 £500,000 £1,746 £588.60 9.92 67.50 6.61 130 18 230 6.49 1.56 67.0 6.28 72 11.8 3.09 180 23
28 Sutton 206,349 8.50 £450,000 £1,528 £618.60 9.93 66.74 2.83 120 19 90 3.94 0.00 60.8 5.47 63 10.9 3.24 180 27
29 Richmond upon Thames 198,019 7.00 £715,000 £2,183 £667.80 10.00 61.94 4.45 110 29 120 6.15 0.63 70.0 10.00 78 11.1 3.39 190 25
30 Hammersmith and Fulham 185,143 6.65 £900,000 £2,522 £763 9.29 114.25 4.70 120 24 140 5.24 5.31 40.0 1.96 62 12.2 4.80 230 39
31 Kingston upon Thames 177,507 7.98 £550,000 £1,741 £635.20 9.91 68.51 3.78 100 18 160 5.56 0.00 70.0 6.22 66 11.0 3.54 180 35
32 Kensington and Chelsea 156,129 0.00 £1,655,000 £4,624 £662.40 8.93 140.26 2.16 80 21 110 8.54 3.75 67.0 4.23 71 12.5 7.18 310 55
33 City of London 9,721 5.94 £1,745,000 £2,922 £1103.10 0.00 796.56 0.00 80 1 120 0.00 4.06 16.9 1.22 62 12.5 10.00 200 196

What do people look for in their new home?

When quizzed on the most desirable traits a property can have, our respondents' top answers were a good location, a garden and affordability.

In fact, over half (55%) say location is one of the top factors when choosing a new home, though this could mean a number of different things to different people. Delving a little deeper, we found that affordable property prices, low crime rate and green spaces are some of the top things that make a location particularly attractive to relocators. This said, only 80% say they would visit an area before moving there, with the remaining 20% happy to wing it based on online research, or none at all.

But, have priorities changed since the COVID-19 pandemic? 37% of Brits reckon so. After spending a significant amount of time at home over the past year, 1 in 10 would like to move somewhere with more space and another 1 in 10 want a garden or balcony. With many people working from home for long periods of time, space is of utmost importance - and you certainly can't underestimate the value of fresh air!

The most affordable areas

Affordability is evidently a crucial detail in choosing a new home, with 42% rating it as one of the top three most important things to consider. While people's budgets can differ, there are a few factors that can determine the affordability of an area.

Combining information about house price, cost of rent, cost of living and weekly earnings, London is unsurprisingly the most expensive place to live. Here, a 3-bed property will set you back an average of £639k to buy or £2,000 a month to rent. Average weekly earnings are slightly higher than most of the UK at £716, though this isn't enough to balance out the steep living costs.

At the other end of the scale, Derby ranks as the most affordable place to live, with property prices averaging at £165,000 to buy a 3-bed or £674 per month to rent. Weekly earnings also average at a healthy £779 a week, which are notably higher than London's.

The safest settings

Nobody wants to live in a high-crime area, but is it something that people actively consider before moving? For most, it would appear so. Safety came in second on our list of the most desirable traits an area can have, with 31% choosing it in their top three things they look for in a location. What's more, 67% of respondents said they would pay more to live in a low crime area.

So where are some good options? Based on crime rate, York, Poole and Swindon are some of the safest places to live on our list. Unfortunately, Middlesbrough, Manchester and Kingston Upon Hull gain the lowest spots for their higher crime rates.

The work-life hives

If career opportunities and work-life balance are influential factors in choosing where to live, Gloucester, Stoke-on-Trent and Bradford and are strong contenders.

Gloucester has one of the highest employment rates, gaining it a top spot on the list, as well as fast internet download speed and a reasonable average work commute length and cost. Meanwhile, Bradford and Stoke-on-Trent scored well for having some of the shortest commute times in the UK. For the 42% who said they would happily pay more to live near work, this could be appealing.

On the flip side, London, Sunderland and Newcastle rank at the bottom of the list for work-life, with London having the longest and most costly average commute, as well as a below average employment rate. Sunderland and Newcastle also gained their low positions on the list for being among the locations with the slowest internet (40mbps).

The greenest grounds

Green spaces are certainly a desirable thing to have in your local area, not least during pandemic restrictions when a walk in the park could be the highlight of your daily routine. Plus, if you have pets it could be an essential on your new home checklist. 66% of our respondents said they would happily spend a bit more to live near green spaces, proving they can be a deciding factor for an area.

Based on the number of parks and the level of pollution combined, London, Preston and Swansea topped the list for greenery. While London is one of the most polluted cities in the UK (beaten only by Wolverhampton), it redeemed itself with its 279 major parks – not mentioning the smaller green spaces scattered around the capital. Preston on the other hand, is the second least polluted of the towns and cities on our list, and has 16 parks, while Swansea ranks sixth for low pollution and has 37 parks.

The ‘happening' hotspots

For those with children, or planning a family, having good schools in the area is certainly a plus – if not a requirement. We looked at which towns and cities have the most schools rated ‘outstanding' by OFSTED, for which London, Birmingham and Liverpool came out on top.

We also assessed each location based on the availability of other facilities, such as food shops and gyms to rank the list according to amenities in the local area. Overall, London, Newcastle and Bristol ranked highest, also topping the list for the most gyms, so these cities could be where fitness fanatics find themselves most at home.

Looking for somewhere that will keep you entertained? London, Liverpool and Birmingham rank highest for the most restaurants and things to do, meaning there will never be a dull moment!

A closer look at London

While London featured in the UK index for its overall credentials, the capital is a large and diverse city with each borough offering different things. Our London index breaks things down by borough, so you can find a more specific area that suits you if residing in the Big Smoke.

Looking for affordable rent? You might want to check out Bexley. If you're in the market to buy, however, Barking and Dagenham should be on your radar for affordable property prices. In terms of safety and health, Richmond upon Thames ranks highest for its low crime rate and for its number of green spaces. But if having lots of restaurants and things to do on your doorstep is a priority, you'll have to head a little further into the city. The City of London ranks highest in this area, but it comes with a hefty price tag, with a 3-bed property costing an average of £1.75 million!

This index was created to measure how the UK's major towns and cities compare when it comes to the various factors people consider when moving home – affordability (house price, rent price, cost of living, weekly earnings), safety (crime rate), work life (avg. commute time and cost, internet download speed, employment rate), greenery (number of green spaces, pollution, air quality), amenities (grocery stores, schools, gyms), and activities (restaurants, things to do).

Locations were chosen based on the 50 most populated towns and cities in the UK, using 2019 data from Nomis.

To make a comparable quantification of how each location faired based on the various factors, we formulated a ranking system that awarded each location a score from 1-10 based on how they rated for each factor. A low score indicates that that the location doesn't rate well in the specified area, with each increasing number signifying a more positive rating. Each country was awarded a score for each of the sub-categories measured (affordability, safety, work life, greenery, amenities and activities), based on totals calculated from scores for each individual factor falling under the category. We were only able to give a score where data was available. If there was no data available, we awarded it a score of 0.

Each score was obtained using the raw data via this formula:

Score(i) = 10 * ( ( (x(i) - x(min) ) / ( (x(max) - x(min) ) )

  • Population, employment rate - https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/
  • Property prices, rent prices - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23234033
  • Avg. weekly earnings - https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/annualsurveyofhoursandearnings/2020
  • Cost of living, cost of commuting - https://www.numbeo.com/
  • OFSTED outstanding schools - https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/
  • Crime rate - https://www.police.uk/pu/your-area/greater-manchester-police/performance/compare-your-area/
  • Commute times - https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/annual-commuting-time-21-hours-compared-decade-ago-finds-tuc
  • Internet download speeds - https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/multi-sector-research/infrastructure-research/connected-nations-2019/data-downloads
  • Pollution - https://www.numbeo.com/pollution/
  • Air quality in London - https://londonist.com/london/news/most-highest-pollution-toxic-london-boroughs
  • Number of parks, restaurants, ‘things to do' - https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/
  • Number of food shops, gyms, London restaurants by borough - https://www.google.co.uk/maps
  • London underground stations - https://www.mylondon.news/news/zone-1-news/boroughs-most-least-london-underground-17346044