The answer to that question is dependent on so many personal factors that there is no one, definitive answer. However, we can help with Information and insights about different parts of the UK and its varied housing market, including tips on choosing the right area for your individual needs.
Buying a house is such an exciting time to create new beginnings for the whole family. However, it is important to pick the right location to ensure that it aligns with your values, your lifestyle requirements and your future goals.
The UK is an incredible place to look for a new house because it is so varied in landscape, culture, property options and work/education opportunities. Every region has its own unique charms and benefits.
Which part of the UK is best to buy a house? According to RightMove, the most desirable parts of the UK to buy a house are:
- London (see our Guide to Moving to London)
- Essex (see our Guide to Moving to Essex)
London remains the most searched area in the UK, closely followed by Cornwall. Of course, just because those areas are the most searched online doesn’t mean they are the right area for you to move to. Different, unique factors impact which area is the best place in the UK to buy a house for you and your family, and it’s important to consider those factors when thinking about which locations to research as your next potential permanent home.
3 Key Factors To Consider When You Are Buying A House
The cost of houses across the UK differs enormously, and this could well be a factor in your decision as to where to buy. Your budget will put a cap on where you can buy, and also on what you can get for your money. The average house price in the UK in 2023 is £289,818. In the Midlands the average house price is around £250,000 and in the South West £329,000. In Yorkshire and the Humber the average house price drops down to £207,000. There are huge differences in cost, and ultimately some areas will price you out of the market.
2. Job Opportunities
It may be that you are offered a job in a certain area, and so you have to move to that area, or within a commutable distance. Within a one hour radius of a location, there is often a lot of choice on where you could move, but it still restricts your search to some degree. If you want to move for better job opportunities, the best cities for job opportunities (in general) are:
- Milton Keynes (number one for employment opportunities)
- Oxford (see our Guide to Moving to Oxfordshire)
- St Albans
- Cambridge (see our Guide to Moving to Cambridgeshire)
- Colchester (see our tips on Moving to Essex)
- Canterbury (see our tips on Moving to the Home Counties)
Of course, it depends what you do, and what you want to do for work, but it helps to know roughly where lots of opportunity lies in general when looking for a new place to live.
3. Lifestyle & Amenities
Different people have different needs in terms of their lifestyle. A person who enjoys nightlife, lots of social opportunities and shopping will enjoy a place in or near a city. A person who is active and who loves nature will love the coast, or the countryside. Growing families are likely to want somewhere with the best of both worlds that is also safe and close to good schools.
In addition to the three points above, there will also be very specific considerations for the new residential area you choose. Educational opportunities, transport options, type of housing stock, distance from family and friends – lots of priorities and considerations to think about whilst you browse the UK housing market for a new home.
The North-South Divide
There is also a notable difference in various aspects of of homes and lifestyles when you compare the North and South of the UK, although this is a generalisation as some parts of the North are very expensive while some parts of the South are reasonably cheap. The areas that buck the general trend usually do so because of good or bad job opportunities.
You may find that the North is more diverse in its opportunities for employment, compared to very strong business and entrepreneurial opportunities in the South.
The Cost of Living
The South tends to be higher overall when it comes to the cost of living, which impacts the price of properties and of day-to-living overall. In comparison, the North is more affordable overall, and the difference in property cost in the North compared to the South can be considerable. That means that if you have a well-apid and secure job that you could have a much better home lifestyle in the North of England.
The South has exceptional travel connections with the road networks, public transport options and airports. The North can be well-connected in certain places like Manchester and Newcastle, for instance, but overall overall travel connections are not as established as the South.
The above are very general comparisons, and ultimately, both the North and South of the UK have pros and cons, and areas that completely buck the trend. North or South, your final decision depends on what you are looking for and which area feels right for you and your family.
Coastal, Countryside, City
There are obvious differences between coastal, countryside and city living that should be considered when you assess which parts of the UK are a good idea during your search:
Coastal areas tend to be more scenic, offer a wide range of activities, offer a good quality of life, and plenty of employment options through the tourism industries. Of course, that also means house prices can be higher, properties may be harder to secure, and you may find an area changes depending on the season. Some coastal areas can also be very quiet out of season but extremely busy at holiday times.
Countryside living offers much of the same advantages as coastal living, and much of the same disadvantages. Potentially busy tourist seasons, some degree of quietness out of season, but lots of incredible views and a great connection to nature. Some rural areas can also be very cut-off in regards to transport, which can be problematic if you want or need to travel to more populated areas regularly.
Living in a city can be very exciting, it can bring about an almost 24/7 stream of activity options, and surround you with various social and employment opportunities. However, it can also be suffocating because of a lack of green spaces, challenging because of how fast-paced life is, and very expensive when it comes to housing. You will still significantly more in rent or mortgages for much less square footage if you want to live somewhere like London.
For some people, a mixture of the above appeals to them as a location choice. A countryside or coastal town with good connections to towns and cities is a fantastic middle ground that gives you the best of both worlds.
10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Where to Buy a Home
What’s My Budget? Determine your budget for the house and research areas where properties align with your financial capabilities.
What’s My Commute Tolerance? How far are you willing to commute to work or other important destinations? Consider the convenience of public transport and road networks.
What Are My Lifestyle Needs? Consider your hobbies, interests, and preferred amenities (parks, gyms, restaurants) to find an area that suits your lifestyle.
What Are My Family’s Needs? If you have a family, think about schools, healthcare facilities, safety, and family-friendly activities in the vicinity.
What are the Employment Opportunities? Research the local job market and industries to ensure you’re in an area with potential employment opportunities. Even when moving for a new job you should consider future career opportunities.
Are There Future Development Plans? Investigate future plans for the area—upcoming infrastructure projects, business developments, and zoning changes.
What’s the Crime Rate? Check crime statistics for the area to ensure you’re comfortable with the safety levels.
What’s the Property Value Trend? Research historical property values and trends in the area to gauge the potential for appreciation over time.
What’s the Community Vibe? Spend time in the area to get a feel for the community, culture, and overall atmosphere.
What’s the Resale Potential? Consider the potential resale value of the property. Is the area likely to remain desirable in the long term?
Remember, each individual’s priorities are unique, so tailor these questions to your personal circumstances and preferences. It’s also a good idea to work with a local real estate agent who can provide valuable insights about specific locations you’re considering.
Discovering Your Perfect UK Home: Where Will Your Next Life Chapter Be?
In the diverse and varied landscape of the UK, the search for the ideal house is unique to your needs. Whether you prefer a coastal retreat, city apartment, countryside escape, or something different altogether, the best place for you hinges on your life goals, family needs, employment requirements and lifestyle.
Throughout your search, remember that practical needs are important, but it may well be a feeling you get or intuition that leads you to the place you’ll call home.