Whether you’re looking to move to a new area for the right schools, or you’re unable to commute to your new job from your current home, there are many reasons why families and young professionals alike might choose to relocate.

But no matter if it’s your first move or your last, deciding when and where to move is always a difficult decision - especially if you’ll be saying goodbye to old friends and long-term support structures.

In order to minimise the level of stress you may experience when looking at what area to relocate to next, the team at Reassured have compiled a list of the UK’s top up-and-coming areas.

Basing our ranking on a variety of key factors, including school ratings, green space and house prices, we analysed how well these cities performed in each category and then ordered them from best to worst, to help kick-start your search.

So, without further ado, here are the top 5 up-and-coming UK cities for 2023…

The top 5 up-and-coming UK areas

Coming in at the very top of our rankings is the always-popular historic city of York.

With a total score of 5.1, and home to stunning architecture and quaint cobbled streets, York might have higher than average house prices at £286,987, but it more than makes up for it with its outstanding schools, outdoor areas, and incredibly low crime index of just 26.91.

However, following close on York’s heels is Newcastle. Boasting an overall score of 4.8, Newcastle has the greenest space of any city, 59.1% to be precise - and this is before you even account for them having the fifth highest percentage of young people on our list at 17.45%, as well as a thriving nightlife.

As for our third and fourth places, Oxford and Norwich, both achieved a score of 4.7, though Oxford just takes the third spot thanks to its higher average salary of £35,724, and low unemployment rate of 2.4% - although Norwich does have a noticeably lower crime index, which sits at 26.04 compared to Oxford’s 35.89.

Finally, our fifth best up-and-coming city is Exeter. Nestled far in the south of England, and only 10 miles from the coast, Exeter boasts a healthy average of green space, a low crime index, and plenty of young people, making it a fantastic all-rounder option for anyone looking to move.

Up and coming areas map

Rank

CityTotal ScoreUnemployment Rate (%)Young People (%)Average House Prices (£)Average Salary (£)Average Bills (£)Number of Small BusinessesOutstanding Schools (%)Green Space (%)Crime Index
1York5.1521.8%15.09%£286,987£33,072£245.4515,69023.81%36.0%26.91
2Newcastle4.8424.5%17.45%£177,821£31,772£244.9419,20524.49%59.1%48.32
3Oxford4.7862.4%21.75%£439,740£35,724£167.1410,94013.00%25.4%35.89
4Norwich4.7722.8%16.91%£215,448£31,252£146.6711,07512.95%19.1%26.04
5Exeter4.7072.0%18.05%£280,348£31,044£220.1210,07013.42%32.1%34.55
6Cambridge4.6931.9%20.63%£498,370£35,724£208.9311,22012.02%24.4%28.69
7Telford4.6323.4%8.13%£185,960£29,848£176.4512,21521.33%36.0%24.60
8Swansea4.4793.4%11.45%£165,090£28,600£115.9415,120-46.5%34.93
9Aberdeen4.3663.2%9.92%£139,339£33,072£138.018,340-37.3%33.78
10Nottingham4.3574.1%20.29%£172,540£27,872£131.9420,94016.67%19.9%50.38
11Bournemouth4.3363.3%12.05%£300,899£29,068£133.5932,99024.24%20.7%41.49
12Bristol4.3032.7%13.95%£306,482£32,864£231.6639,70022.37%22.5%41.73
13Burnley4.2905.1%7.28%£105,618£24,284£80.005,70521.69%43.3%41.16
14Reading4.2732.6%10.80%£297,944£33,904£183.9814,56525.42%17.4%44.15
15Edinburgh4.1972.4%10.63%£291,289£33,228£175.9418,820-31.8%31.07
16London4.1794.4%8.18%£793,432£59,176£266.341,106,54530.84%2.9%53.75
17Portsmouth4.1493.5%14.80%£225,219£31,980£118.6713,54013.33%17.6%45.44
18Barnsley4.1213.4%7.01%£143,469£28,132£210.0014,53520.00%49.7%48.02
19Wakefield4.0983.5%6.81%£170,075£28,704£171.4821,57016.31%47.5%44.95
20Leeds4.0834.2%12.97%£211,228£30,940£242.3564,46015.81%41.9%42.84
21Preston4.0513.3%11.77%£143,743£28,184£155.4012,21521.69%45.4%73.22
22Southampton4.0243.3%15.74%£217,646£33,592£230.2017,15018.67%19.7%51.49
23Leicester4.0244.0%14.45%£204,208£28,132£183.5430,35018.18%22.4%44.57
24Sheffield4.0074.2%13.42%£192,258£29,588£240.7436,24517.71%34.0%43.07
25Warrington3.9982.5%6.83%£213,998£32,500£369.1618,64025.00%31.4%31.67
26Liverpool3.9685.4%13.88%£159,660£31,252£185.7931,86523.39%21.6%47.56
27Brighton3.9443.8%15.01%£400,060£31,200£205.8731,61014.49%27.5%37.34
28Cardiff3.9133.8%14.55%£228,197£30,524£211.8527,255-31.6%37.77
29Wigan3.8853.8%7.16%£153,203£27,300£208.6519,85024.81%41.4%55.48
30Milton Keynes3.8733.4%6.37%£271,641£34,216£192.3326,67023.64%31.1%51.19

The best cities for young professionals and students in the UK

So, we’ve looked at our top five spots overall. But what if you’re interested in a city offering something specific?

If you’re just stepping into the world of work or heading off to university, both average bill prices and the number of people your age living in the area are likely going to be top of your list when it comes to features around your new home.

Given our top five spots, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Oxford sits at the very top of the list for the percentage of people aged 18-24 living in and around the city.

In fact, their percentage of young people sits at 21.75%, which is 15.48% more than Worthing, one of the lowest-ranked cities on our list.

Besides Oxford, other good locations for young people include Cambridge, Nottingham, and Exeter, which are all home to excellent universities.

However, if cheaper bills are what you’re after, then you might want to visit Burnley or Ipswich, both of which had monthly bills that averaged out at £80 and £81.6 respectively.

The best locations for affordable housing and outstanding schools

Now that we’ve covered what cities are best suited for younger people, what about those areas that would be perfect for a long-term couple looking to move in together or those wanting to start a family?

Well, when it comes to lower-than-average house prices, which is almost certainly top of your list of priorities for a new home, our data ranked Burnley as the top location for this factor - and with an average house price of £105,618, it is certainly a lot cheaper than London!

Besides Burnley, other good city options for low housing prices include Blackpool and Stoke, which offer average home prices of £116,939 and £120,043 in their areas, though if you’re willing to pay a little more, then Newcastle's average price of £177,821 might be just what you’re looking for.

And as for outstanding schools in our ranked cities, Slough came in a surprise top spot. At least 34% of the schools in their area are classed as outstanding, a full 3.2% more than London, which came in second. 

Given London’s vast catchment area, this is no mean feat and certainly reflective of their quality.

The top UK cities with the greenest space

Finally, if green space is what you’re after when it comes to city living, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are several cities in our ranking that can accommodate this feature.

As we’ve already mentioned, Newcastle has the greenest space of any city at 59.1%, though it’s closely followed by Barnsley and Wakefield, which have green space percentages of 49.7% and 47.5% respectively.

However, other green space city options include Swansea and Blackburn, whose outside areas account for 46% of their area.

In fact, when looking at our rankings overall, at least half of our cities offer a green space percentage of 27% or more.

In summary

Hopefully, our rankings have given you a better idea of where you may like to move in the future, and what factors to consider.

Whatever the future may hold and wherever you end up residing, it’s often important to protect your loved one’s financial future with life insurance.

It’s never pleasant to consider how your family would cope financially if you were not around to provide, however it is vital to have provisions in place, especially if you have a large mortgage and/or young children.

That’s why our dedicated team at Reassured will work with you to find the perfect policy, giving you reassuring peace of mind.

Get in touch with us today to use our free life insurance quote comparison service.

Sources:

Young people - https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/analysisofpopulationestimatestoolforuk

Average house prices - https://landregistry.data.gov.uk/app/ukhpi/browse?from=2021-04-01&location=http%3A%2F%2Flandregistry.data.gov.uk%2Fid%2Fregion%2Fswansea&to=2021-04-01&lang=en

Average salary - https://thinkplutus.com/average-uk-salary/ Average Bills - Numbeo

Unemployment rate - https://www.centreforcities.org/data/uk-unemployment-tracker/

Number of small businesses (Scotland) - https://www.gov.scot/publications/businesses-in-scotland-2020/

Number of small businesses (Rest of UK) - https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/activitysizeandlocation/datasets/ukbusinessactivitysizeandlocation

Outstanding schools - https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/state-funded-schools-inspections-and-outcomes-as-at-31-august-2021

Green space - https://isglobalranking.org/ranking/#green Crime Index - Numbeo

Please note, the data displayed in this article is correct at the point of publication 22/03/23

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