Four northern cities top Property Week’s annual index of the top places to live in the UK.
Crewe came first in the rankings, followed by Chester (last year’s winner), Stockport and Harrogate.
The index is based on value for money (house prices compared to average local income) and general quality of life in the area. The house price to average income ratio for the UK is around 5.6 but there are wide regional variations. For first time buyers, the north is one of the most affordable areas in the UK with a ratio of 3.4.
London has its own index, due to the disproportionately high price of property in the capital. Bromley came first here, toppling last year’s winner, Barnet.
In fact, the South East of the country did badly in the index, with Reading the highest placed at number 45. This reflects the impact that London property prices have on the surrounding counties and how quality of life is affected, for example, by long and expensive commutes.