St Albans makes another ‘best places to live’ list

St Albans: Not as good as last year

St Albans: Not as good as last year - Credit: Archant

St Albans has scored high on another ‘best places to live’ list – but its popularity is waning.

According to Halifax’s annual quality of life survey, the St Albans Local Authority District (LAD) is nowhere near as appealing as it was last December, dropping from eighth to 15th place.

The Hart area of Hampshire topped the list (up from 26th place) followed by the Orkney Islands, Rutland in the East Midlands, Wychavon in the West Midlands and last year’s winner, Winchester, Hampshire.

The study considers a range of factors, including employment rates, health, crime rates and earnings.

Of the 250 areas included in the study, St Albans came fifth for average weekly earnings (£1,018 against a national average of £655) and 11th for average house prices (£559,667 compared to £254,599 UK-wide).

The proportion of adults aged 16-plus educated to a high level is almost double the national average – 63.6 per cent have the highest qualifications gained – such as a degree, NVQ level 4 and above – compared with 35.2 per cent elsewhere.

St Albans also secured eighth place for both the percentage of adults in good or fairly good health (82.11 per cent compared with 79.4 per cent nationally) and the highest life expectancy at birth for boys (96.8 years, compared with 94.6).

Southern England bagged 35 of the top 50 spots on the list, with St Albans coming second of the nine East of England areas listed, behind Uttlesford in Essex (11th).

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There was a clear North/South divide, with southerners enjoying both high employment levels and average earnings while northerners benefit from more affordable housing and a low house price to earnings ratio.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax, said: “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.”