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The 5 best cities for a forever home in the UK

The 5 best cities for a forever home in the UK
Image source: Getty Images

Looking for your forever home in the UK? A new study suggests that buyers in England may get a more spacious home, and a more permanent one, by moving to Wales or Northern Ireland. Before going ahead with a mortgage application, take a look at the latest data about long-term homeownership in the UK.

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What makes a house in the UK a forever home?  

New research by Bequests looked at eight factors that determine the quality of a home’s location:

  1. The number of years owners stay in their home.
  2. The percentage of schools rated good or outstanding.
  3. The number of active GPs per 100,000 patients.
  4. Recorded crime per 1,000 population.
  5. Price per square metre.
  6. Average price paid for a house.
  7. Average size of a house.
  8. Changes in value over 10 years.

Which five UK cities in the UK came out top for forever homes?

First Minister Mark Drakeford will be very proud to know that three of the top five best UK cities for forever home are in Wales.

1. Swansea

The city of Swansea is the clear winner, with homeowners staying for an impressive average of 64 years. With 99% of schools being rated good or outstanding, Swansea is a great place to bring up a family.

The childhood home of the poet Dylan Thomas, Swansea is the second largest city in Wales. Swansea Bay is in easy reach of the city and can be seen from many of the residential areas.

2. Belfast

Northern Ireland’s capital gained second place, with a very affordable average house price of £136,436. Schools are good and the city is well served by GPs.

With serious trouble on the streets a long way in the past, Belfast does have a slightly higher crime rate than others in the top five. Also, the average house size is a little on the small side.

That said, Belfast is a vibrant city full of culture. All the benefits of living in a city come at a much cheaper price. 

3. Cardiff

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales and less than an hour from England. Homeowners stay for an average of 63 years.

The average price paid for a house in the UK is just over £300,000. In Cardiff, it’s £248,767, which is less than half the average price in London and £100,000 less than nearby Bristol. Therefore, residents have more spare cash to enjoy Cardiff’s excellent restaurants, entertainment and shopping.

4. Newport

Another Welsh city, and not far from Cardiff on the south coast. In fact, North Wales doesn’t feature in the list of the best places to find your forever home in the UK.

The price per square metre of property is significantly lower in Newport than it is in Cardiff. Newport has good transport links in every direction, which is handy for anyone still commuting rather than working from home.

It’s a sensible town with a solid industrial past. it shouldn’t be confused with Newport village, the fashionable holiday destination in Pembrokeshire. 

5. Sunderland

Sunderland is the only English city in the top five forever homes list. Average house prices in Sunderland are very low at £143,027, and homeowners are happy to stay for an average of 39 years.

With a low overall cost of living, Sunderland is a good place to save for a mortgage too.

Which are the worst cities to find a forever home in the UK?

The top three worst UK forever home locations are Reading, Edinburgh and Bristol – in that order. Reading scores low in many categories, including schools and GPs, despite having higher than average house prices. In Bristol, homes change hands as frequently as every two years.

Aberdeen in Scotland, with rather small dwellings, joins Edinburgh in ranking near the bottom in the forever home UK stakes. It’s important to remember that large cities are made up of many different areas and districts, some of which may be much better than others.

What about London?

Tower Hamlets ranks first. It is joined by Haringey and Islington in having the best regarded schools. If you want to live in Richmond Upon Thames, you will need to pay an average of £922,104, and good luck getting a doctor’s appointment. 

The City of London is rated the worst place in London for a forever home. The crime rate is exceptionally high, with almost 800 crimes recorded per 1,000 population. 

Where in the UK will I find my forever home?

It’s important to take into consideration factors other than price, such as space, education, amenities and health, to get a full picture of the true value of a home.

The ideal location may be somewhere you hadn’t considered. With houses in many of the top cities for forever homes in the UK well below the average price, it’s worth viewing further afield if you can’t afford a mortgage in your current area.

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