From new-build properties that need little work to older homes that may require you to remortgage to raise funds for renovations, forever homes come in all shapes and sizes. But where are the best locations to live with a family and retire in the UK and US?
Before you begin house hunting and looking for mortgages you should first consider which areas meet your needs. Luckily, our mortgages experts have done the hard work for you.
From crime rates to average house prices and weekly earnings, several factors have been analysed to reveal some of the best forever home hotspots.
Searching for the best place to live with a family or the best place to retire in the UK? Here are the top-ranking forever home hotspots.
Ranked as one of the best places to buy a house in Wokingham. Located in the South East of England, Wokingham comes in the first position. This attractive market town has a low crime rate and is just 40 miles from London.
This historic town is well connected via road and rail to nearby locations but in the town itself, there’s still plenty to do. You will find plenty of shops, leisure facilities and parks, which is perfect when raising a family.
The average house price in Wokingham is £490,206 and prices fluctuate by approximately 5.52%. Those who live in the area are estimated to earn approximately £730.10 per week.
In the second position is Mole Valley. Located in Surrey, this is a highly desirable area of the UK with average house prices of £573,894.
The area gets its name from the River Mole which flows through the district before linking with the Thames. Mole Valley offers something for everyone with easy access to the capital and a more natural setting at the North Downs.
On average those living in the district earn £764.20 a week, which is slightly higher than Wokingham. Life expectancy for this area is high at 83.86 which is higher than the total average for all locations at 82.25.
The district of South Oxfordshire is ranked third with a relatively low crime rate and house prices just shy of £500,000.
This area is an attractive place to live with a family or as an empty nester due to its traditionally British feel. There are stunning country homes, traditional pubs and plenty of rambling routes.
People currently living in South Oxfordshire earn an average of £650.80 per week, which is slightly less than the locations in positions 1 and 2.
Locations to the north of the UK begin to rank from position 37 out of 132, with the Ribble Valley in the North West offering a low crime rate and average house prices of £269,833.
In position 40 is the Shetland Islands in the north of Scotland. The Isle of Anglesey in Wales took position 112 and Lisburn and Castlereagh in Northern Ireland placed number 50.
The concentration of Forever Home Hotspots in the south of England is due to the average wages and average house price increase generally being higher there than other parts of the UK.
If you’re searching for the top places to buy a home in the US then look no further, here are the top-ranking hotspots.
Teton county in the state of Wyoming has come in the first position. Although unable to report on the crime rate, the county is home to good schools and has a high life expectancy rate at the age of 86.7.
House prices in this area are averaged to be $850,800 with relatively low average residential electricity costs at $0.641 per kWh.
As a forever home hotspot this county is picturesque with a mountain top backdrop. Teton is home to the Grand Teton National Park and 10 miles to the north lies Yellowstone National Park, making it perfect for nature lovers.
Los Alamos county has plenty of history and is located in the state of New Mexico. The research suggests that the schools in this county have high ratings and average house prices are much lower than in Teton, at $322,200.
Los Alamos is built on four flat mesa tops that are separated by canyons. Due to the various levels of elevation across Los Alamos there’s plenty of wildlife to enjoy from mule deer to bobcats. For both young and older residents there are plenty of walks and hikes to enjoy as well as a summer festival.
With average house prices falling in between the price of Teton and Los Alamos, at $493,500 this location must be considered for a forever home.
Schools in Douglas are considered to be on par with those of Teton and the average earnings of residents is the highest of the three counties at $78,980.
No matter in which state you are looking to find your forever home there are plenty of counties to consider. Plus, house prices vary hugely, meaning there’s something for everyone.
There are several reasons retirees in the UK may wish to sell their home from downsizing to searching for a low-maintenance alternative. The decision to sell is ultimately up to the owners but there are a few things to consider before choosing whether to stay or go.
Do you have a remaining mortgage balance? If there’s still a balance on the mortgage then the remaining balance will be paid for using the sale proceeds. This is important to consider if you are selling to gain extra money for retirement.
What is the home worth? In an ideal world, a property would sell at a higher value than it was purchased, however, this may not be the case. Getting a property valuation before deciding to sell may help sway your decision.
How is the property market performing? The property market can change within months and can affect homeowners looking to sell in several ways. A bad property market may mean the home is listed for longer, the home may sell for less and purchasing a new home may prove difficult.
Is the home equipped for older life? Making the home more accessible for elderly people can cost and therefore may impact a homeowner's decision to purchase a more accessible property.
These are just a few things to consider when thinking of selling a home in retirement.
Homeowners in the UK can gift their property to their children before death but it is important to understand the effects of doing so.
There are several reasons people may look to gift their property to their children, including avoiding inheritance tax charges and helping them onto the property ladder. It is important to note that if the original homeowner still lives in the home with their children then it will still be liable for inheritance tax.
There are a lot of legal aspects to consider when buying a home in the UK, such as local authority search results, the home information pack (HIP) and survey reports. All of these elements can take time to assess and a good solicitor can be vital to a smooth process.
On occasion, mortgage advisors and estate agents may recommend or appoint solicitors but take time to find someone you feel comfortable with. Speak to people about their experience and research potential solicitors before committing.
Deposits in the UK can vary depending on the type of mortgage you are looking to attain. In general, you’ll need at least 5% of the home's value. For example, if a property is £200,000 you will need at least a £10,000 deposit.
Buying a home in the UK can be a good investment but several factors can affect your return. Interest rates, demand, location, and condition all affect a property’s value so take time to research the property before purchasing.
Take a look at historic sales in the area and consider what work may need to be done to increase its value.
Whether you’re hoping to buy your first home or find your forever home, many people relocate for a better quality of life. Take a look at our guides below to help find the best place to live.
For both the UK and US a series of criteria were analysed and ranked to determine the Forever Home Hotspots. The criterion takes into consideration families and retirement to ensure each forever hotspot is fit for these stages of life. The methodology for both the UK and the US was split into two steps, outlined below (the data used was the latest available).
UK The research focused on the areas of the UK that score an average of 7.7 and above on the 2020-2021 personal-wellbeing criteria map from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Only these high-scoring areas were researched further.
The research then analysed each UK area on the following factors:
Crime rate: When determining the crime rate for the remaining locations ONS sources for England and Wales, gov.scot for Scotland and crimerate.co.uk/northernireland for Northern Ireland were used (2022 rates are at Community Safety Partnership Level, in some cases, this isn't the same as Local Authority. Crime rate data used excludes fraud).
Average house price: To discover average house prices and average % of change over 10 years (June 2012 to May 2022) landregistry.data, was used. When looking at % of change over 10 years the monthly % of increase for each month over 10 years was noted to determine the average % increase overall. House prices were ranked in descending order as this would indicate high demand and a valuable area.
Energy prices: Using the 2021 annual domestic energy price statistics per UK region each local authority was assigned an associated region to determine the average energy price for people in that area.
Life expectancy: To determine the average life expectancy per local authority the latest data from the ONS from 2018 to 2020 was used.
Weekly Earnings: ONS data and NINIS data for Northern Ireland from 2021 for average weekly earnings were used for the final factor.
All of the above factors were given a normalised score out of ten for each factor, before taking an average of these scores for the overall rankings.
To identify the states and counties with the best health rankings the 2022 County Health Rankings were used. The counties with the highest health ranking were then analysed on the following factors. Each factor was then given a normalised score out of ten and taking an average of these scores to reveal the US Forever Home Hotspots.
Crime rate: To identify total violent crimes within each county details were taken from the 2022 County Health Rankings which used 2014 & 2016 statistics for the number of violent crimes per 100,000 population, from the Uniform Crime Reporting - FBI. The same source was also used to identify life expectancy per county from 2018 to 2020, this research was undertaken by National Center for Health Statistics - Mortality Files.
School rating: For public schools, the 2022 rating from Niche for each county was converted from letters into figures eg A+=1 A=1.5 (lowest figure equals the highest rank) converting into figures ensured the data could compare against the rest of the data to uncover the overall rankings. The same source was also used to reveal the average house price per county.
Average house prices: When revealing how the average house price has changed over 5 years the website Zillow was used. The value of a property in June 2017 and the value of a property in June 2022 for each county were taken and then the % of the difference was revealed. House prices were ranked in descending order as this would indicate high demand and a valuable area.
Energy prices: For average energy prices, the average residential price per kWh in each county or nearest city/state was accessed from the website findenergy.com, which shares 2020 data.
Average earnings: Finally, average earnings were discovered in the 2020 bea.gov Personal Income by County, Metro, and Other Areas report.