Rutland has narrowly missed out on being named the UK’s best place to live in the 2017 quality of life survey by Halifax.
The district of Hart in North East Hampshire took the top spot for the fifth time in six years, according to the 2017 Halifax Quality of Life Survey.
The Orkney Islands have taken second place, followed by Rutland which catapulted up the table from its ranking of 28th in 2016.
Wychavon in Worcestershire was fourth and last year’s winner Winchester dropped to fifth place
The survey looks at residents’ health and life expectancy, wellbeing, earnings, employment and crime rates, as well as the cost of living and the weather.
But Halifax said that having a great quality of life would appear to come at a price with the cost of living in Hart much higher than in many other parts of the UK – and an average house price of £419,231 standing at 8.8 times the average annual pre-tax local income, compared to the national average of 7.3.
Hart was rated 26th last year but moved up the table, having improved relative to other local authorities on average earnings, employment rate and in the ONS personal well-being survey, where it also scored strongly compared to 2016.
Managing director of Halifax Russell Galley said: “Hart seems to have been offering residents an unrivalled mix of living standards for five of the last six years, seeing employment rates, average earnings and ONS personal wellbeing rankings bounce back after falling from the top spot last year.
“Along with Hart, many areas in southern England score strongly in categories including the labour markets and health.
“Northern areas tend to perform well on education and benefit from more affordable properties with lower house prices to earnings.”
More than two-thirds - 35 - of the top 50 best places to live in the UK are in southern England, with 17 in the South East, a further nine areas in the East of England, five in the South West and four in London. There were just two in the East Midlands - the other being Harborough which was rated 30th.