If you‘re keen to move to your family to an area with outstanding schools, plenty of job opportunities and low levels of crime, then Bath is the place to go according to new research.
The Somerset city, famed for its Roman-built baths, has come top for the second year running in MoneySuperMarket’s annual review of 35 towns and cities.
We reveal house prices, school and crime info for the most and least family-friendly cities, and explain how to finance your next move.
Most family-friendly cities
MoneySuperMarket’s annual Family Living Index ranks 35 cities based on six factors that could impact family life including:
- School rankings
- Access to green spaces
- Likelihood of burglary
- House prices
- Job opportunities
- Average salary
Despite its relatively punchy average house price of £346,000, Bath has been crowned the best place in which to raise a family thanks to its strong job opportunities and good schools.
Our gallery reveals the other top five areas for raising a family according to MoneySuperMarket.
Least family-friendly cities
At the other end of the scale, Bristol has displaced London as the least desirable place to raise a family.
The shift is down to a 33% rise in content theft and a decline in the number of schools rated ‘outstanding’, according to MoneySuperMarket’s analysis.
London, despite having the highest average income of the cities, was the second least desirable city thanks to its high average house price of £479,000.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh has dropped four places in the overall rankings of all 35 cities analysed thanks to an increase in contents theft claims.
How to find the best place to live
Deciding where to buy a house, particularly if you’re relocating, is hard – and even more so when you’ve got a family with varying needs to consider.
It’s well worth doing in-depth research and making sure the areas you’re looking at tick all the right boxes for now and the future, depending on how long you intend to stay there.
Whether your priorities are green spaces and schools or commuting time to work, start by making a list of your requirements and scoring them in order of importance. This will help you work out what you’re prepared to compromise on what’s non-negotiable.
Which? has an area research tool that can help you decide the best location to move to by comparing types of households, happiness scores, house prices, council tax costs plus primary and secondary school rankings.
Find out more: visit how to find the best places to live for helpful tips and our handy area comparison tool.
Mortgages for moving home
Once you’ve decided where you want to move to, the next step is sorting out your finances to see if you can afford a property in the area.
If you have a mortgage you might be able to take it with you to a new property, through a process called porting.
However, this could be tricky if you need to borrow more, which is likely if you are moving to a bigger home.
If you need to borrow more it might be worth exiting your current deal and finding a new mortgage for your next home.
Find out more: mortgage calculator – how much can you borrow?
How did MoneySuperMarket compile the list?
To decide which were the most and least family-friendly cities, MoneySuperMarket combined a number of data sources:
- Schools – for England the researchers looked at the number of schools rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. This wasn’t available for Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, so they created estimated figures based on the total number of secondary schools in the location, with the proportion of outstanding schools based on the average for England (total schools 21,033, outstanding schools 4,479 = ‘outstanding’ ratio 21%).
- Parks – identified using the Google Maps API.
- Job opportunities – found on Indeed.co.uk by searching by city on 4 February 2019.
- Average salary and house prices – based on 2018 Government data.
- Contents theft rate – based on 2.5m home insurance enquiries made between January 2017 and December 2018, including 37,600 (1.5%) that included a burglary claim during the previous five years.