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The Happiest Places to Live in the UK

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Towards the end of 2021 our friends at Rightmove carried out their annual happiness survey to find where UK residents just seem to love life a little more than the rest of us. Now as we enter the halfway point of this year, we look back at those results to look at the survey itself plus the cost of property in those areas.

Maybe you live in one of these places yourself or currently live elsewhere but just don’t have the spring in your step you hoped you would have. If that is the case, let us as the UK’s leading online estate agent help you find a new home among our properties for sale.

Alternatively, if everyone is just that little too cheery in your town, we will help you through the process of selling a house quicker than anyone and it won’t cost you a penny!

We have broken it down per region to give you the happiest places per UK region. This month we focus on England.

How were the happiest places to live worked out?

Rightmove surveyed 21,000 people across the country and asked them to rank the area they lived across ten different measures.  Responses for each of these ten categories were then averaged to provide both a category and overall score.

The ten measures were:

  1. I feel a sense of belonging
  2. Generally, the people are friendly and polite
  3. I can be myself
  4. Nature and green spaces
  5. There’s a real sense of community spirit
  6. Artistic and cultural activities
  7. Opportunities to develop skills
  8. Non-essential amenities
  9. Essential local services such as schools and doctors
  10. Sport and recreational activities

Rightmove discovered that one-in-three of the winning locations are market towns and that those living in less densely populated areas are happier than those in towns and those by the sea are happier than all.

Can moving home make you happier?

The study from Rightmove also looked at the number of people moving and found that of the people choosing to move 64% of them felt happier in a new area. Just 21% said that they remained just as happy in their new hometown as they did in the previous location. This would lead us to think that there are perhaps 15% of people unhappier in their new surroundings.

Happiest place to live in Southeast England

The Southeast is commonly a popular place for its warmer weather, its transport links, and its job prospects. House prices tend to be more expensive, but the wages tend to be higher than further up the country. Coastal locations, market towns and popular with tourists, the southeast is always high placing on many surveys like these. Selling a property in any of these regions could deliver a nice return that could be invested in cheaper property further north.

Of the top 5 places within the region, 4 are in Sussex and 3 of them featured in the top 20 happiest places in the whole country.

PlacePosition in National SurveyAverage house PriceDifference to National Average (£297,524)

Happiest places to live in Southwest England

The Southwest of England is another popular destination for many reasons, famously agricultural in parts and synonymous with areas of natural beauty, the southwest has lots to offer families. Ilfracombe and Porthcurno are just two of the stunning areas likely to give you a smile. Unemployment stands at just 2.9% as of Jan 2022. Like the Southeast, 3 of the 5 areas below feature in the top 20 of the national results. Properties in Plymouth are currently the cheapest in the region.

PlacePosition in National SurveyAverage House PriceDifference to National Average (£297,524)
St Ives8£305,969£8445

Happiest places to live in Greater London

Whilst Greater London is a hub for a great deal of activity within the UK, it doesn’t fair particularly well in the survey. Could this be due to the cost of housing? Could it be the dense population within the various neighbourhoods? There are plenty of benefits to living within the area and things such as schooling, nightlife, and wages are all key factors when it comes to moving. Richmond Upon Thames ranked happiest in the area and 2nd happiest in the country. Is it that with the higher earning potential and the chance to sell at a good price people feel quite content…or are there other factors?  Unfortunately, the other places didn’t rank very high. Of the top 5, 3 of them were ranked 50+. Properties in these areas fall significantly over the national average which possibly enforces the fact less property transactions took place in London than normal over the past year. Greater London also polled low in other areas too with Barking and Dagenham ranked as the unhappiest place to live in the UK whilst Brent and Newham also made appearances in the bottom 4.

PlacePosition in National SurveyAverage House PriceDifference to National Average
Richmond Upon Thames2£770,509£472,985
Kingston Upon Thames54£516,015£218,491
Kensington and Chelsea78£1,1451,567£847,632

Happiest places to live in East of England

The East of England on average, seems to be one of the more consistent performers in the happiness chart with the top three places all falling fairly close together in the national rankings. Many areas are picturesque and lend themselves to traditional British postcard images. Think countryside, churches, and quaint towns.  An unemployment rate of 3.7% puts it 0.1% under the UK average, but with easy access to Central London, there are many that commute, saving on the cost of property. With all bar St Albans falling close to the national average for property prices, property can be quite attainable within the region.

PlacePosition in National SurveyAverage House PriceDifference to National average
St. Albans19£587,758£290,234
Leigh on Sea35£327,808£30,284
Bury St Edmonds39£292,939-£4585

Happiest places to live in East Midlands

The East Midlands is the first of our regions not to have a place feature among the top 50 happiest places to live.  Its highest ranking comes in at 68 with Chesterfield. Unemployment rates are among the lowest within the UK at just 2.7% and house prices are among the lowest on our list so far. With London still within commuting distance, you can get better value for money. Space is abundant too with it being the second least densely populated part of the UK.

PlacePosition in National SurveyAverage House PriceDifference to National average

Happiest places to live in the West Midlands

Home of Shakespeare, the heart of the industrial revolution and the glorious Warwick castle all lend themselves to reasons as to why people like to live in the West Midlands. It’s the home of the world-famous Cadbury chocolate brand too so all in all, the whole region has lots to offer all types of people! Unfortunately, unemployment is quite high in the region when compared to other areas in the country and it currently sits at 4.5%. That being said, there are plenty of areas within the region that offer gainful employment, great schools and a mix of affordable and premium price housing. You can snap up some property cheaply and selling in Stratford Upon Avon can deliver a nice return if planning to move to one of the other regions within the West Midlands.

PlacePosition in National SurveyAverage House PriceDifference to National Average
Leamington Spa10£299,908£2,384
Stratford Upon Avon22£365,786£68,262

Happiest places to live in the Northwest

The Northwest has long been a cultural epicentre for the UK. Birthplace of bands, chefs, artists, sporting legends and performers. It has been a hub of creative activity and will likely continue to be. Unemployment numbers are a little high at 4.3%.

Overall, the region boasts many highlights, and the cheaper costs of housing does tend to be an incentive for those that can work from home or commute to areas where the wages may be a little higher.

PlacePosition in National SurveyAverage House PriceDifference to National Average

Happiest places to live in Yorkshire and the Humber

People are in Harrogate are the 3rd happiest in the country according to the survey. Could it be something in the springs?! This region of the UK is home to some of the most famous cities within the country and provides an eclectic mix of property prices. You can pay a little more to live in Harrogate or save a little and move to Skipton that still ranks relatively well in the survey. Employment wise, Yorkshire and The Humber currently has the third highest rate of unemployment in the country at 4.6% only behind the Northeast and London.

PlacePosition in National SurveyAverage House Price 

The happiest places to live in the Northeast

The Northeast is home to the happiest place to live in the UK but also the base for many that rank very low down. Hexham provides excellent connections to Newcastle and Carlisle and according to its mayor thrives on a tremendous community spirit. Not only that but people are paying less for their housing compared to the rest of the nation. On average £100k less! The region currently has the highest rates of unemployment in the country standing at 5.2% and in Durham has the place with the cheapest houses to buy in the UK

PlacePosition in National SurveyAverage House PriceDifference to National Average
Newcastle upon Tyne85£187,242-£110,282

Do you agree with the results of the Rightmove survey? Perhaps you love where you live, maybe you loathe where you live. Whatever you feel about your hometown, there is always a chance to move and make yourself happier-unless you live in Hexham! Our team at SOLD can help with all you relocation plans so contact us today and let us help you get moving. We don’t charge you a penny to sell your house and have a vast portfolio of nationwide properties available.

Keep an eye out next month for when we look at Scotland and Wales.

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