The ancient city of Bath came out on top in a ranking of the 15 best places to live in England and Wales, based on natural beauty, architectural beauty and quality of life, rather than price.
With official Office for National Statistics data showing that over a third (34%) of Britons are still working entirely from home, “the booming property market is being powered by buyers who want more from their living space than just fast broadband,” said buying agents Garrington Property Finders.
Its league table of around 1,400 cities, towns and villages focused on areas where at least 95% of homes have access to superfast broadband.
The overall winner, Bath in Somerset, scored highly across the board.
Its “Georgian grandeur” saw it crowned in the architectural category, while its hills and manicured open spaces meant it came in fortieth place in the natural beauty category.
Researchers scored each location for its proximity to open water, national parks and “areas of outstanding natural beauty.”
In the architectural beauty category, marks were awarded for the number of listed and period homes, as well as modern ultra-energy efficient homes.
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The quality of life category ranked each area for its air quality, crime figures and how many farm shops there are within a three mile radius.
A £325,000 ($442,585), an average-sized family home in fourth-placed Ilfracombe costs half what it would in Bath.
The seaside town in North Devon, which is a hub for foodies, boasts sandy beaches and a 20 metre high Damien Hirst sculpture, is the cheapest of the top 15 towns and cities.
Jonathan Hopper, CEO of Garrington noted that “as the dust settles on an extraordinary, transformative year for the property market, thousands of people are making a fundamental reassessment of what they want from their home.
“Over a third of workers are still working entirely from home, and we’re seeing a stream of buyers keen to explore areas where they can get more home, and a better quality of life, for their money.”
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