Before you consider purchasing a property or renting a house, deciding where to live could be one of the most important decisions you make.
Get it wrong and you will either be unhappy with where you live, or face the costs associated with moving home again.
Thankfully, the annual Halifax Quality of Life survey can give some guidance in making this important decision.
The study considers 26 different factors that homebuyers may consider when choosing a place to live. It looks at local authority areas across England, Scotland and Wales.
According to the most recent survey this year, East Hertfordshire has been named the UK’s best place to live.
The survey found that the most essential factors people consider when choosing a property are affordability, safety, and access to parks and green spaces.
East Hertfordshire (known for its many popular market towns) in the East of England achieves its title thanks to strong exam results, high life expectancy, excellent health and happiness scores, and high average earnings.
Residents say they feel fit and well with nearly all of those surveyed who live there reporting good or fairly good health.
According to the latest ONS figures, adults living in East Hertfordshire are amongst the happiest and most content in the UK with high life expectancies.
East Hertfordshire also has the 12th highest weekly earnings of any local authority across England, Scotland and Wales, and the schools in the area achieve excellent exam results.
Fareham, Hart and Horsham came second, third and fourth respectively, all situated in the South East of England, with Maldon in the East of England coming in fifth.
With high scores on general health and happiness, wellbeing played a significant role in securing the top three places for East Hertfordshire, Fareham, and Hart.
East Hertfordshire and Hart score well on life expectancy; males living there can expect to live an average of 82.5 years, three years above the national average and females to 85, two years above the national average.
Those living in Hart and Fareham score highly for life satisfaction - 8.2 out of 10 on average, compared to 7.8 for the UK.
Employment levels are also significantly higher - 87.2% in Hart and 82.2% in Fareham, compared to 75% for the rest of the country.
While the South East and the East of England both feature four times within the top 10, thanks to Selby and Hambleton, the North of England also makes the line-up, in sixth and seventh place.
The highest-ranking region is the South East of England with 18 local authority areas securing spots in the top 50 best places to live, including Wokingham (10th), Winchester (34th) and the New Forest (42nd).
In second place, the East of England boasts another nine entries in the top 50, such as St Edmundsbury (9th), Rochford (33rd) and Central Bedfordshire (37th).
In third place overall is the East Midlands, featuring seven times, including South Derbyshire (12th), Rutland (31st) and Charnwood (38th).
Selby (6th), Hambleton (7th), Ryedale (11th) and York (48th) – all in Yorkshire and Humberside - are the only places in the North of England to make the top 50.
No London local authorities appear in the top 50, and the Scottish Orkney Islands (18th) are the only locality north of the border to feature.
Just two London areas make the top 100; Richmond upon Thames (64th) and Kensington and Chelsea (79th). Wales’ highest placing was the Vale of Glamorgan at 126th.
Russell Galley, Managing Director, Halifax said:
“With bustling market towns and picturesque countryside, East Hertfordshire has topped the table thanks to high life expectancy, good schools and health and happiness scores, with high average earnings.
“Everyone has different priorities when it comes to choosing a place to live, depending on the time of life and personal circumstances.
“Affordability will always be one of the most important factors, with getting a foot on the property ladder still difficult for some people.”