four min read

Northern cities rated best places to live

Posted in: Corporate

  • Liveability Index reveals best places for under 30s to live and work based on range of factors from living costs to satisfaction and happiness to crime rates
  • Sunderland rated top due to low living costs, high job satisfaction, and general happiness and wellbeing
  • Leeds, Aberdeen and Liverpool appear in the top five; Milton Keynes is the only place in the South East to make the top ten
  • Majority of workers under 25 say they would relocate for increased wages, with nearly half saying they would move for a more affordable cost of living

Sunderland, Aberdeen and Leeds have been rated the best places to live and work, according to a new index.

The Liveability Index, created by financial services provider OneFamily, ranks Britain’s towns and cities with over 200,000 residents. The index is based on both the balance of income and costs of living in each place, as well as how residents feel about living there. The index takes into account the cost of living and working, satisfaction with work and commuting, and general happiness levels, as well as levels of concern on issues like job prospects, work-life balance, the local property market and crime.

At a time when first-time buyers are facing high property prices and stagnant wages, the majority of young workers (56%) say they would relocate for better wages and nearly half (46%) would move to live in a more affordable location.

OneFamily created this index to highlight the variety of different elements young workers looking to get a job or get on the property ladder, need to consider when choosing somewhere to live. Although they can earn high wages in some towns, the cost of living and factors such as crime and satisfaction need to be factored in.

The top 10 places are:

1. Sunderland
2. Leeds
3. Aberdeen
4. Milton Keynes
5. Liverpool
6. Derby
7. Swindon
8. Leicester
9. York
10. Nottingham

Across all cities, Sunderland ranked highest for general satisfaction, while those in York are the happiest. Milton Keynes is the most cost-efficient place to live, with the highest difference between living costs and average income. Despite not making the top 10, residents of Wolverhampton are the most satisfied with their job prospects and work-life balance (see below for further details).

When it comes to liveability, most people put non-financial benefits, like having lots of things to do and access to green space before purely earning more money. Those living in Leeds are the least likely to move with only one in 10 (12%) saying they would move for a higher salary. In contrast, in Salford, where residents feel there are fewer benefits of living in their area, 93 per cent would be willing to relocate for a better pay packet.

Despite being the most likely to move for financial reasons, young workers cite factors such as closeness to friends, family and transport as their most important criteria for choosing somewhere to live.

When millennials do decide to make a move, it is important they consider living and work-associated costs, as earning more doesn’t necessarily make an area affordable. In London and Brighton, the cost of living including commuting, housing and bills is higher than the average salary, with costs coming in at 110 per cent and 123 per cent of average income respectively, while in Milton Keynes costs account for just 60 per cent of the average salary, which could result in a greater quality of life.

Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, Managing Director of Lifetime ISAs at OneFamily, comments:

“If you are thinking of buying your first home, it is important to think carefully about where you want to live. For most people, green spaces and living near friends and family are important, but it is also worth thinking about the cost of living, as high costs could restrict your overall satisfaction.”

“If you have an area in mind, the next step is to investigate job prospects for your sector, and start saving towards a deposit – the more you can save, the lower your mortgage will be so you’ll have more disposable income left for day-to-day expenses and making the most of the benefits your area has to offer. The Lifetime ISA is a great way to do this – if you save the full amount of £4,000 each year, the government will top up your savings by £1,000.”

Anyone wanting to find out how their city or town ranked can use OneFamily’s interactive map, available here. For more information on the OneFamily Lifetime ISA visit: