I think the broader concern is that in academia, you take jobs where you can get them, and you might not get the chance to live in the kind of town/city that most appeals to you.
I'll speak to the US because that's what I know, but I'm guessing that the UK is roughly similar. In research universities here, it is relatively typical for assistant professors to make around $70K, and for tenured professors to make around $100K. (There are, of course, outliers in both directions.)
As it turned out, I got a job in a rather small city. The city is quite inexpensive, and it's very easy to find spacious and convenient housing on a professor's salary. The downside is that it's somewhat dull, the public schools are only so-so, and the dating scene is limited.
People who get jobs in the Bay Area, Boston, New York, Seattle, etc. (and I'm guessing also London) have the opposite problem. These places are very exciting and considered extremely desirable by many, but academics living there typically have to compromise on the kind of housing they can afford.
The job market is extremely competitive. If you are very, very lucky, then you might be able to choose between these two sets of tradeoffs. That said, most of the tenure-track or tenured academics whom I know are happy with their housing situation.