Richmond in London rises up the ranks to take second place nationally this year, as well as being the happiest place to live in London for the seventh year running, while Harrogate takes the third spot.
Some 21,731 people across Britain responded to Rightmove’s 2021 Happy at Home Index survey about various aspects of where they live.
This year’s index found that residents of Hexham were happier than any other area with the sense of community spirit and feeling of belonging – the most important factor for overall happiness – in the area.
The average asking price for a home in Hexham, which is also popular with residents for its access to nature and green spaces, currently stands at £297,088, up 6% compared to the £280,128 recorded 12 months ago. However, this is lower than the current national average of £342,401.
Mayor of Hexham Derek Kennedy commented: “Hexham is thrilled to be awarded the happiest place to live in Great Britain. We are a small town with great history, Hexham Abbey and other historical buildings and our Market Place is 800 years old.
“There is a wonderful community spirit, people are very supportive of one another. There are lots of community interest groups which gets people working for the greater good.”
Ailsa Mather, director at Andrew Coulson in Hexham, said: “The last 12 months in the market have been phenomenal. People have re-evaluated what they want out of their lives, moving closer to family and moving from the city to the countryside. Over 38% of our sales in the last 12 months have been from people south of Birmingham, as more people now have the opportunity to work from home, and don’t need to be in the city five days a week.”
Stirling is this year’s happiest place in Scotland, while Llandrindod Wells, fifth place overall, is the happiest place to live in Wales.
According to Rightmove, more than two-thirds – 69% – of people who moved in the last year, chose to move to a different area. Nearly two-thirds of these people – 64% – said they are happier in the area they now live, compared with where they moved from. Just over a fifth – 21% – said they were just as happy in their new area.
Being happier in a new area was highest amongst those who moved from a town to a village, with 81% saying they were happier where they now live, and 11% were just as happy as where they lived before.
Interestingly, the study showed people were more likely to stay in the same type of settlement, or make a ‘single stage’ move in the search for happiness.
Those that lived in a city, were more likely to move to a town than a village, while those who lived in a town, were more likely to move to a village than a city. Those who lived in a village were more likely to move to a town than a city.
Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property data, said: “It’s been an incredibly busy year in the housing market, with a lot of people deciding that now is the right time to move. It is fascinating to see that people who moved in the last 12 months were more likely to be happy in their areas than those who did not.
“Whether it may be a couple looking for a small change in the same area, tenants looking for more space, or a family completely changing their lifestyle and moving from the city to the coast, this has been the year that people have really seized the opportunity to move, and turned ideas into action.”
|Great Britain’s Happiest Places 2021|
|Rank||Place||Region||Average Asking Price||Average Asking Rent (PCM)|
|2||Richmond upon Thames||Greater London||£1,196,892||£3,235|
|3||Harrogate||Yorkshire and the Humber||£353,624||£1,163|
|8||St Ives||South West||£494,393||£1,150|
|10||Leamington Spa||West Midlands||£350,981||£1,203|
|12||Hitchin||East of England||£491,223||£1,392|
|13||Woodbridge||East of England||£427,542||£1,129|
|19||St. Albans||East of England||£632,320||£1,888|