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Head to Cardiff for quality of life

Lucinda Beeman
Written By:
Lucinda Beeman

Residents of Cardiff have the highest quality of life in the UK, according to new research. Find out where your city ranks here.

According to MoneySuperMarket’s annual Quality of Life Index the Welsh city’s low cost of living, low unemployment and high disposable income made it the best UK city to call home over the last 12 months. The comparison site reached this conclusion by analysing a range of indicators including hose price growth, rental costs, salaries, disposable income growth, cost of living and life satisfaction for the UK’s 12 largest cities. Cardiff edged last year’s winner Bristol out of the top spot.

Belfast and Bradford have seen the greatest improvements amongst the top 12 cities. Once eighth, Belfast is now second. Bradford, last in 2013, is now third.

Birmingham, in last place at number 12, scored below average on every indicator and second to last in life satisfaction.

Dan Plant, consumer finance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “On a national level the economy is performing well. However, the precise story differs city by city. Clearly residents of Cardiff are benefitting from lower unemployment levels and a rise in disposable income growth over the last 12 months. However, as we have seen with Bristol, this position can change as a strong local economy can often lead to increases in house prices and rental costs, resulting in a fall in disposable income growth.”

On the eve of the Scottish referendum, the Quality of Living Index revealed that Glasgow and Edinburgh – ranked tenth and seventh, respectively – have both experienced larger than average increases in rental prices and lower house price growth, though both cities have also benefited from outperforming job markets and higher than average life satisfaction.

The other tear away, London, jumped from seventh place to fourth place in the last 12 months. Londoners boast the highest salaries overall and a rocketing property market, but wage growth is low and rents the highest by far.

Plant added: “A clear divide still exists between increases in salaries and the rising cost of living. Rent price hikes and low disposable income growth are key factors here, and help explain why the top 12 cities have moved around the quality of life index so much. The position could change further with expected rises in Bank of England Base Rate which could impact disposable income levels, particularly in cities where the cost o housing is high such as London and Edinburgh.”

See the chart below to find out where your city ranks. 

2014 Rank (2013)  UK 12 largest cities 
1 (3) Cardiff 
2 (8)  Belfast 
3 (12)  Bradford 
4 (7)  London 
5 (1)  Bristol 
6 (5)  Leeds 
7 (2) Edinburgh 
8 (6)  Manchester 
9 (11)  Sheffield 
10 (9)  Glasgow 
11 (4)  Liverpool 
12 (10)  Birmingham