Location specialist CACI ranks the best places to live in the UK based on factors ranging from affordability to low crime rates

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Scottish cities still dominate the top of Property Week’s annual Hot 100 residential ranking, compiled by CACI, but locations in the South East are hot on their trail.

John Platt, a director in CACI’s property consulting group, says that in recent years towns and cities in Scotland and the north of England have dominated the rankings largely due to the affordability factor, but that this year, locations in the South East have dramatically closed the gap.

“The South East is now the joint most prominent region, alongside the North West, making up 16% of the top 100,” says Platt. “London still ranks poorly; very low affordability and high crime rates mean that only four London boroughs make the top 100, Wandsworth being the standout performer, at 23rd.”

The ranking, which lists the most desirable places to invest in property across the UK based on value for money, takes into account a number of factors (see methodology) and although price is an issue, CACI’s research suggests other considerations are more important to some housebuyers.

“Much has been said in the press over recent months about declining house prices,” says Platt. “This, coupled with a slight increase in average wages, should see the gulf between income and house price come down, but a large proportion of districts in our ranking still score low on overall affordability. Eight of the top 10 are graded C or below for affordability, showing that it is more than just house price that makes an area desirable.”

Among the factors that make locations desirable are low crime rates. As a result, CACI introduced crime stats into the methodology for the first time, which threw up some interesting shifts in the data.

“Areas such as Brighton, Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield and Preston have all experienced big rises this year due to relatively low crime rates per head of population,” says Platt.

Also for the first time, the company drew up a list of hot first-time buyer and downsizing locations created using the company’s data on an individual’s likelihood to move house and on age and life stage (p42). Tower Hamlets, Nottingham and Wandsworth topped the list of first-time buyer hotspots, while Christchurch, West Somerset and Rother are the most popular locations for those looking to downsize.


Rank ‘18Rank ‘17Post townDistrictRegionAffordability indexEmployment levelsInternet connectivitySchool provision Local amenitiesAccess to public transportPropensity to moveCrime levels Score
1 1 Edinburgh City of Edinburgh Scotland C C A A A A A C 76%
2 5 Aberdeen Aberdeen City Scotland A B E B A A A C 75%
3 7 Greater Bristol South Gloucestershire South West D A B A B B A D 70%
4 4 Devizes Wiltshire South West D A C A A D B D 69%
5 3 Harrogate Harrogate Yorkshire and the Humber D A C A B D D D 69%
6 36 Bath Bath and north-east Somerset South West D A D B B B A D 68%
7 2 Crewe Cheshire East North West C B D A A D D C 67%
8 11 Inverurie Aberdeenshire Scotland B A E A B E D C 67%
9 8 Stockport Stockport North West C C A A A B D B 67%
10 6 Chester Cheshire West and Chester North West C C D A A C D B 67%
11 28 Swansea Swansea Wales B C A A B B B B 67%
12 18 Cardiff Cardiff Wales C D C A A A A A 67%
13 15 Glasgow Glasgow City Scotland A E C A A A A C 67%
14 14 Leeds Leeds Yorkshire and the Humber B D B A A A A A 66%
15 20 York York Yorkshire and the Humber C B D B A B B C 66%
16 9 Hamilton South Lanarkshire Scotland A E A A A B D C 66%
17 59 Brighton Brighton and Hove South East E C B B A A A A 66%
18 17 Perth Perth and Kinross Scotland B B D A B C D C 65%
19 19 Clevedon North Somerset South West C B D B B D A D 65%
20 65 Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne North East A D C A A A A A 65%
21 13 Sale Trafford North West D C B A A B C C 64%
22 39 Lancaster Lancaster North West B B A B B B B B 64%
23 30 London Wandsworth London E C C B A A A C 64%
24 12 Nottingham Rushcliffe East Midlands C A A D E B B E 64%
25 21 Kirkcaldy Fife Scotland A E B A A B D C 64%
26 16 Beverley East Riding of Yorkshire Yorkshire and the Humber B B D A A E E E 63%
27 10 Warrington Warrington North West B C B A B B D B 63%
28 22 Chorley Chorley North West B B B B D B D C 63%
29 25 Paisley Renfrewshire Scotland A E A B B A C C 63%
30 76 Sheffield Sheffield Yorkshire and the Humber B D D A A A A A 63%
31 29 Aylesbury Aylesbury Vale South East D B B A D D A E 62%
32 44 Wokingham Wokingham South East E A D B D D A E 62%
33 24 St. Albans St Albans East of England E A B B C C C C 62%
34 31 Loughborough Charnwood East Midlands C B B B C B A D 62%
35 45 Preston Preston North West A D C B B A A A 62%
36 47 Durham County Durham North East A D D A A C D B 62%
37 56 Abingdon Vale of White Horse South East D A A C D D B E 62%
38 33 Liverpool Sefton North West B D A A A A E B 62%
39 43 Huddersfield Kirklees Yorkshire and the Humber A D C A A C C B 62%
40 41 Bolton Bolton North West A D A A A B C A 61%
41 64 Newcastle upon Tyne North Tyneside North East A D B B B A D A 61%
42 52 Stirling Stirling Scotland B C E C C C C C 61%
43 70 Prenton Wirral North West B E D A A A D B 61%
44 55 Twickenham Richmond upon Thames London E B B C A A B D 61%
45 38 Stafford Stafford West Midlands C B B C D D D D 61%
46 53 Wallingford South Oxfordshire South East E A C B C E B E 61%
47 35 Livingston West Lothian Scotland A D B B C B D C 61%
48 48 Stockton-on-Tees Stockton-on-Tees North East A E A B B B C A 61%
49 66 Derby Derby East Midlands B E C A A A A A 61%
50 34 Reading West Berkshire South East E A E B C D B E 61%


CACI’s ranking combines the affordability of property with data on quality of life, including employment levels, provision of local amenities and public transport accessibility.

The affordability index was calculated by analysing the relationship between average house price and average income.

Other variables used were employment levels, internet connectivity and wi-fi speed data as well as the number of schools and retailers, pubs, restaurants and other amenities. Each town was given an A to E grade for each variable.

The methodology is consistent with previous years, apart from the addition of one new variable: national crime figures, based on data from local police forces.



Hot Housing Index 2018: South East closes in on north and Scotland