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Britain’s best areas unveiled for 2013

An annual study by the Halifax bank revealed that the south east of England has become increasingly desirable for those looking to purchase this year.

Hart in Hampshire came out on the top of the list, boasting the country’s largest freshwater lake, Fleet Pond, plus beautiful surrounding countryside. Residents within this district were said to have good health and high employment and were also able to enjoy good quality schooling and low crime rates. What’s more, average life expectancy is high, with men living until 81.7 years; a good 2.7 years above the national average.

Architectural delights abound, meaning that 1,000 buildings are listed for special historical interest, and there are more than 30 conservation sites within Hart’s towns, which include Fleet and Yately. However, all of this comes with a high price bracket for housing – relative to local earnings, property is expensive.

Elmbridge in Surrey was voted second on the list, falling from its star position of 2012, while Tunbridge Wells, Chiltern and East Hertfordshire all took centre stage in the top 10, meaning England really did steal the show.

Despite the fact that none of Scotland’s regions were in the top 50 for Halifax, a separate survey by Bank of Scotland in December 2012 released data highlighting Aberdeenshire as the favoured region for home owners in the north. Graded on quality of life, the ‘Granite City’ and surrounding towns and villages have now received this accolade four times in seven years, despite the fact that many people work long hours within the oil industry.

Home owners looking for life on a remote Scottish isle would do well to turn to the Shetland Isles, where employment rates are high and house prices remain relatively low in comparison with earnings, according to the Bank of Scotland survey. A peaceful life awaits: Shetland is brimming with wildlife, history, geological wonders and of course outdoor activities for that all-important leisure time when the working day is over.

Those looking to invest in property would do well to consider these areas, which have already come out as some of the best places to live in the UK in 2013. Although prices can be higher in the most desirable regions, buyers might consider taking on a building that requires renovation and maintenance before moving in or selling it on with a new valuation.

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