Welcome to Garrington’s Best Places to Live in 2022 research report. After another exceptional year for the property market, activity remains brisk, with buyers searching for the perfect location that offers everything they are looking for in a new home.
Over the last year, Garrington has helped many clients with their property searches.
More space, somewhere comfortable to work and a better standard of life continue to be cited as top requirements on many buyers’ wish lists.
Offices may be reopening but the home-working genie is out of the bottle.
With millions of people keen to continue working remotely at least some of the time, many are reassessing what they want from their home – and this shift is transforming Britain’s property market for good.
In a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic was a trigger for around 630,000 home moves, the race for space, reassessment of ‘home’ and rising recognition of ‘green’ credentials among home movers has led to a significant shift in our top 20 Places to Live Index.
Just seven of our top 20 locations of 2021 remain there this year.
2022 has seen the Garrington Index update with additional criteria added to our quality-of-life category, and, reflecting the changing demands of buyers, sustainability criteria have been included.
Top 10 locations ranked Best Places to Live in 2022
Half of our top 10 locations rank in the top 5% of all locations for ‘Going Green’. With a move to hybrid working the new reality for many, access to fast broadband remains a prerequisite for inclusion.
Retaining its number 1 position in 2022, is Bath. Considered our top ‘next generation’ location of 2021, interest in the city has certainly not waned.
Bath was named in TIME magazine as one of the world’s top 100 greatest places to visit, one of only two locations in the UK to feature; and is ranked in the Top 10 UK cities by Condé Nast Traveller to visit.
As the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the UK, and in 2021 joining a prestigious grouping of 11 towns across Europe to be awarded a Great Spa Towns of Europe categorisation by UNESCO, it is perhaps no surprise it has retained its top spot for architectural heritage.
Half of our top 10 destinations for 2022 are located in the South West.
Over the course of 2021 the region has seen a huge surge in buyer demand, an acute shortage of stock meaning property is flying off the shelves.
The average time taken to sell here is the quickest of any region, with the exception of Scotland.
Explore this year’s full results
Once again Garrington is providing access to its full research findings and allowing you to compare the scores of different locations across England and Wales.
To use our widget below, simply type the first three letters of the place you’re looking for into the interactive box below. Having seen the results for the location you are interested in, click the ‘Pin Me’ box and enter a further location to compare and contrast scores.
Best places to live in 2022 by price bracket
As in 2021, using average prices per square foot achieved for property sales in each area over the past year, we have calculated the average price of a family home of around 1,500 sqft.
Then, segmenting the market to prime (£650,000+), mid £350,000-£650,000 and those hidden gems in areas where an average family home costs less than £350,000 provides a useful ranking for buyers looking at different budget levels.
The best places to live for prime buyers
For prime purchases, the stunning coastal resort of Fowey, Cornwall, is in second spot, the South West and South East making a clean sweep of the Prime hotspots of 2022.
Lewes retains third position in this category, with Winchester, Henley-on-Thames and Sevenoaks also retaining top 10 positions.
The market towns of Arundel, Farnham and West Malling, along with the famous pebble beaches of the culturally vibrant Brighton and Hove, make up the top 10.
Best places to live £350,000 to £650,000
All top 10 locations for those looking for the best place to live within a budget between £350,000 and £650,000 are ranked within the top 1.2% of all locations.
In a similar vein to last year, small market towns dominate the listings.
Just three locations are home to more than 20,000 households.
Only Lyme Regis and Wilton featured in the 2020 top 10, Salisbury and Hadleigh in no small part making the top ten in 2021 due to their green credentials.
Best places to live in England, Wales and Scotland
For the first time in 2022 we have devised a Garrington Index ranking the best places to live in Scotland, to run alongside our Index for England and Wales.
Scotland has proved a sought-after destination for 2021, properties here selling quicker than any region of the UK.
The table below shows the top three locations for each of the three nations, along with the category criteria on which each location ranked highest.
What is clear from our Index is that changing buyer demands, lifestyle choices and societal shifts all have a role in determining what locations top the buyer wish lists.
With 2022 hoping to bring a more settled return to normal life, will the current top spots head the rankings a year from now?
Finding the best places to live in 2022
If you feel you’d benefit from the guidance and expertise that can be offered by a professional buying agent please do get in touch for a no obligation discussion about your plans to move and the services we offer.
Garrington’s Best Places to Live Research report is based on publicly available data sources. The research report is not based on any subjective personal opinions.
All locations listed are deemed some of the Best Places to Live based on the scoring methodology used. The objective research findings are intended for general information only and should not be used for any other purpose.
Analysis was based on the ranking of 1,372 catchments all offering over 95% access to super-fast broadband. Places have then been ranked on 12 measures of quality covering four categories:
Physical Environment – Proximity to high quality landscape and homes close to water.
Quality of Living – Crime/community safety, air quality, access to public transport, availability of outside space.
Architectural Heritage – Period homes and listed buildings, including number of Grade 1 listed buildings
Going Green – proximity to public electric vehicle charging points, energy efficiency ‘A’ or ‘B’ rated homes and availability of cyclable routes
Garrington are aware that small number of media titles have unfortunately chosen to report our data in a misleading and irresponsible way. For the avoidance of doubt, our report is not a ‘best and worst places to live’ league table, and any press reporting as such is incorrect. On the contrary, the research only ranks the best places to live, from the 36 cities, 1,186 towns and 6,116 villages in England and Wales (Cities, towns and villages: Trends and inequalities – parliament.uk), so being included – whether at number 1 or number 1372 – is to be applauded.
A wide range of data sources have been used to create a proprietary research methodology. These include:
Office for National Statistics, Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Department of Levelling up Housing and Communities, Land Registry, Royal Mail Ordnance Survey, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, DEFRA, BEIS, NapTAN (Ministry for Transport), PCT, Historic England and Dataloft.