Jun 28, 2021
8 min read
‘Up-and-coming’ is a term bandied about a lot in the property world, but it seems that most of the time, as soon as a location is branded with the moniker, its already had its day. So, we wanted to know if we could find a way to truly find the most desirable places to live in the UK right now to help you decide where to make your next move.
To do this, we looked beyond just house price increases as a barometer of how sought after a place is, and have instead analysed a whole host of data to really get into the nitty-gritty of what makes somewhere an ‘up-and-coming’ place to live.
Alongside recent price increases, we’ve analysed nine other factors that play into creating a desirable area to buy or rent. These included obvious choices like crime rates, proximity to/the number of schools, pubs and gyms in the area, in addition to other factors we were excited to look into. For example, in 2021 having a good restaurant on your doorstep is a big plus, so this was taken into consideration in our research, alongside looking at how positively each area is portrayed in the media, and any increases in people actually searching for a move here in recent months.
More than 600 areas in the United Kingdom were ranked against each of these factors by our Boomin data geniuses, before bringing it together to definitively crown where really are the most desirable places to live, right now.
Standing tall in the top spot is Gower in Glamorgan, Wales. If you’re unfamiliar with the South West Wales location, it’s known for its beautiful beaches and far-reaching countryside. Within our research, it also came up trumps thanks to its low crime rates, the number of schools in the area and a recent increase in house prices. All resulting in a 20% increase in people searching for a move to Gower, in just the last three months.
Outside of our data, Gower was the first part of Britain to be named as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (back in 1956) and has been named as one of the very best places to live in the UK for multiple years, so it's no surprise the ‘Hamptons of Swansea’ is still on the up. Want to find out more about Gower and why it topped our list? Watch our short video.
Following on the podium were Wigan and Central Manchester. Both based in the North West, Central Manchester has become a haven for Londoners looking for a more affordable alternative to city life, while Wigan is often regarded as the 'happiest' place in Greater Manchester, also boasting favourable crime rates and a 13% increase in house prices since 2017. Wigan is also known as one of the cheapest places to live in the UK, so for first-time buyers and those looking to make their money go further, it’s a smart choice, especially with the two major cities of Liverpool and Manchester so close by.
Top three aside, the most notable takeaway from the research for us was just how dominant both Welsh and North Western locations were when it comes to current property desirability, and that no locations from the South of England featured in the top 20. Hinting that the desires of greater safety and more affordability while maintaining a good amount of choice win out in a post-pandemic Britain. When looking at house price increases over the last year alone, the London locations of Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington are tied in 1st place (with a 12% house price increase) but fall down considerably for other factors, such as crime rates and no increase whatsoever in people searching for a move.
That’s not to say though that the only places on the up are predominately in the North West or Wales, as we’ve also looked at where comes out on top for each region around the UK, crowning the up-and-coming property hotspots wherever you’re looking to live.
So Shoreditch, Hoxton and Brixton have had their day, and it’s now the East London market town of Romford seeing people in the capital clamouring to live here. Quite literally too, with Google searches around moving to Romford having risen by 113% in the last 12 months. This has largely been influenced by the Essex town becoming one of London’s 30 Housing Zones, resulting in an investment of nearly £35 million to build thousands of homes and new jobs. The knock-on effect of this is also obviously better places to eat, greater transport links and an all-around more enticing place to live if you’re based in the capital.
The preference for market towns and villages in Greater London rather than anywhere too central continues through the top 5, with the likes of Orpington and Sutton being dream locations for London commuters. These places offer up a much safer, tranquil family life that is still within reach of the capital’s bustling centre.
Positioned in Kent and bordering East Sussex, the picturesque Royal Tunbridge Wells ranks as the number one up-and-coming place to move to in the South East. Favoured by the Royals for years, when it comes to picking property it’s undoubtedly on the up. Tunbridge Wells ticks a lot of boxes with our data, with an overwhelmingly positive perception in the media, well-rated restaurants and a good number of schools and pubs making it the first choice for the South East region. There’s been a 3% increase in house prices over the last year here too, which is less than in other locations, so maybe it’s time to make the move before things really start booming!
Elsewhere in the South East top 5, Fareham is another place that has before been hailed as one of the best places to live in the whole of the UK. With the sea, countryside and River Hamble all nearby, it brings a great quality of life if you love the great outdoors, and is also well-rated where well-rated schools are concerned.
Dorset is dominant in the South West, with both the North and the South ranking as the most up-and-coming areas in the region. To the south, you’ve got part of the Jurassic Coast, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site and to the north, you’ve got quaint towns like Shaftesbury, famed for its part in the 1973 ‘Boy on Bike’ Hovis advert, one of the most beloved ads ever made in Britain.
It isn’t all bread deliveries and fossil hunting though, as North Dorset actually ranked in the overall top 10 for locations seeing a sharp increase in house move searches, with a significant 45% spike in searches in just the last 3 months. With Dorset as a whole boasting one of the best life expectancies in the UK, the area has definitely got something right.
Located in Northumberland, close to Hadrian’s Wall, you’ll find Hexham: the most up-and-coming property hotspot in the North East. House prices are slowly increasing in the town, but it really wins due to its low crime rates and an interestingly high amount of entrepreneurship in the area.
Also, if you love a good pub, Hexham again ranked favourably in our data, while the town also provides a strong mix of what many are looking for in 2021: there’s an abundance of green space in the area, while you’ll also find many independent shops lining the high street, giving Hexham a more unique feel than other town centres.
We’ve already mentioned the North West duo that ranked 2nd and 3rd, but the rest of this regional top five also featured in our overall rankings. Towns like Rochdale have had a bad name in the past, with Rochdale even being named one of the ‘worst places to live’ in the country a decade ago. It’s undoubtedly shaken that image off in the ensuing years, with a 7% increase in house prices in the last 12 months, and an impressive 82% increase in people searching for a move here over the same period.
In recent years, Rochdale has undergone million pounds of investment too, making it a great choice for anyone looking to escape the city life in the North West, but still commute to the likes of Manchester and Leeds. Situated on the edge of the Pennies too, it’d definitely a place that doesn’t seem to deserve the unglamorous perception it has received over the years.
On the flipside, Newark in Nottinghamshire was named as one of the best places to live in the UK just last year, so it makes sense that people are taking note and looking to move to this peaceful market town. Found near Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest, Newark ranked 30th overall for the increase in people searching for a move here, with a 25% increase in just 3 months.
The Georgian architecture of the town hall, along with the spire of St. Mary Magdalene make it a great place to look at too, which brings with it great travel connections for commuters, and a bevvy of good places to eat and drink at the weekend.
Worcestershire’s Stourbridge ranked in the top 10 overall and was, therefore, one of the few places outside of Wales and the North West scoring so highly. No mean feat but it’s easy to see why, with it bringing strong transport links, alongside favourable proximity to life’s necessities and a better crime rate than many parts of the UK. No surprise then that house prices have risen 7% here in the last year, especially being in arms reach of Birmingham city centre, allowing you to enjoy countryside life without sacrificing career.
Ludlow is next and is another place in our findings that brings with it historic sights, with Ludlow Castle now playing host to multiple festivals throughout the year. The market town sits at the centre of a growing food scene, celebrated each September during Ludlow Food Festival.
Just missing out on the overall top 10, it’s a bit of a surprise that somewhere in Yorkshire didn’t rank higher, with beautiful scenery in the area and a city booming in business and job opportunities in Leeds.
Ranking number one in the region though is Pudsey, a place you might want to live simply for the name, it’s a real hit with families, having a number of well-regarded schools in the area. This is likely to be one of the key factors in why Pudsey has seen a 96% increase in people searching for a move here over the last 12 months. A move here will see you joining a community proud of its old school pubs, nature reserves and local events, such as Pudsey Carnival.
In second spot is the coastal town of Cleethorpes, historically a very traditional British seaside town, its seen more independent eateries opening up in recent years, and brings a good amount to do for young families with Lakeside Park, complete with a boating lake, a small zoo, Discovery Centre and multiple nature reserves.
Similar to Gower, the most up-and-coming property location in the UK, Ards and North Down is formed from a mixture of quaint villages situated by the Irish sea. Boasting long stretches of scenic coastline, it isn’t just the views people are moving here for, as it’s got a low crime rate, an abundance of things to do and ranked 8th overall for the amount of people searching for a move here: a 45% rise in just 3 months!
In third spot is Strangford, previously named by the Sunday Times as one of the best places to live in Northern Ireland, housing here is at a bit of a premium, especially in one of the cute cottages, but it pays off with a friendly, thriving community.
Yet another up-and-coming peninsula in the rankings, the North Eastern area of Fife is particularly sought after in 2021, with an 86% increase in people searching for a move here in the last year. If Fife is a little too quiet for you however, Stirling is a Scottish city on the rise, with an abundance of schools, pubs and things to do, situated near historic sights to see, such as Stirling Castle.
For a true taste of the very best of Scotland, Moray and its various towns and villages make third place in the country. Outside of being the birthplace of Macbeth, you’ll get rolling landscapes aplenty, some great whisky and even the chance to see some bottlenose dolphins. Its capital Elgin makes sure there’s more to do too, alongside the remote lifestyle.
The entirety of this top five also featured in the 10 most up-and-coming places to buy or rent in the whole of the UK, so need we say anymore? Besides Gower, the likes of Ogmore-by-Sea and Aberavon continue the theme of beautiful beaches and above-average quality of life. Ogmore-by-Sea is a good choice if you’re looking to still be within reach of somewhere a bit busier too, with good links to the M4 and an easy route to Bridgend train station, which unlocks easy journeys to Swansea, Cardiff and even London.
Wales and its relaxed, picturesque and often coastal towns are really what is on the rise in 2021. Does this signal that city life being a draw is over? With Manchester Central ranking so well, probably not, but if you’re looking in Wales, you won’t be lost for choice!
To be able to name the most desirable, up-and-coming locations to live in the UK, we looked at all 649 constituencies in the United Kingdom and scored each based on a variety of data sources linked to house buying/renting desirability. The data itself all came from official sources, and included:
Once all data sources were collated at consistency level (allowing us to control for population density), each area was ranked from best to worst for each specific data point. Within this ranking, particular data points, such as crime rates and house price increase, were given higher importance than others, such as takeaway reviews.
To aggregate all the data points, we summed all the rankings and re-ranked based on this summation to get the overall ranking for each constituency. For aggregating regions, we averaged (to control for larger/smaller regions) the rankings of all the constituencies within the region and then ranked this average.