Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life, and there’s a lot to consider, including the local area.
It can be difficult to figure out if you'll be happy in a new place. Luckily, Rightmove has revealed 13 happiest factors and the areas most likely to make you smile.
It’s vital to consider whether the local area will make you happy before buying property.
Many factors can affect your happiness, including community spirit, amenities and transport.
Rightmove has compiled a list of the 10 happiest places to live in the UK in 2023.
Why choosing the right area is important
While there’s a lot to consider before buying a property, such as transport links and access to shops and green spaces, a huge factor is the area itself.
Are you happy living in your local area, or would you prefer to live elsewhere?
There are many reasons why where you live brings you joy, although it can be hard to define.
If you’re wondering whether you live in an area with some of the happiest UK residents, you’re in luck. Rightmove has released its annual Happy at Home index, now in its 12th year.
The online real estate property portal asked 26,000 people who live in towns, cities, and villages across the UK how they feel about their local area based on the 13 happiness factors below.
The happiness measures are:
I feel proud about the area I live in
I feel a sense of belonging
There’s a real sense of community spirit
Generally, the people are friendly and polite
I can be myself
Nature and green spaces
I earn enough to live comfortably in my area
Artistic and cultural activities
Employment opportunities and desirable jobs
Sports and recreational activities
Essential local services
Public transport connections
Respondents revealed to Rightmove how they feel about their local area and what is most important to them.
Based on their scores, Rightmove has ranked the happiest places to live in the UK.
Where are the 10 happiest places to live in the UK?
Richmond upon Thames, Greater London
Winchester, South East
Wokingham, South East
Cirencester, South West
Skipton, Yorkshire and the Humber
Hemel Hempstead, East of England
Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London
St Ives, South West
Hexham, North East
The happiest place to live, Richmond upon Thames, has a lot to offer, including two Royal Parks, botanical gardens, and benefits from an easy commute into London.
How affordable are the happiest places?
If you’re interested in living in one of the happiest places in the UK, a potential issue is affordability.
Towns and villages with family-friendly attractions like parks, countryside and nearby shops and amenities, as well as good transport links, can come at a premium.
So, how affordable is it to move to one of the areas that are most likely to put a smile on your face?
1. Richmond upon Thames
The average property price in Richmond upon Thames was £859,836 over the last year, according to Rightmove. This is significantly higher than the UK average of £288,000 in October 2023.
While Winchester is more affordable than Richmond, it’s more than double the average UK house price at £644,793 over the last year.
For those considering buying property in Wales, the average house price in Monmouth is £340,472.
While it’s over 20% more expensive than the average UK property, it’s among the most affordable on this list.
Although property prices have fallen 3% over the last year, buying a home in Wokingham will set you back £520,781 on average.
Among the cheapest places to buy on this list is Cirencester, with average property prices of £401,164 over the last year. However, this is higher than the UK average.
If you move to Skipton, you might be able to buy a home for under the UK average as it’ll cost you around £251,892, making it the cheapest on this list.
7. Hemel Hempstead
Over the last year, the average property price in Hemel Hempstead was £434,915.
8. Kensington and Chelsea
The most expensive area to buy a home in this list by a huge margin is Kensington and Chelsea, where the average property price is around £1.78 million.
9. St Ives
Over the last year, the average property price in St Ives was £497,749, which is 4% lower than the previous year.
Hexham is among the most affordable on this list, with an average property price of £266,795, which is below the UK average.
Why expert advice is vital
If you’re looking to move to one of the happiest areas in the UK, what’s clear from the above list is that the price you pay can vary, with some places much more affordable than other areas.
However, the area you move to is not the only big factor to consider.
If you’re planning to buy a new property, getting expert advice is vital.
Unbiased can connect you with a regulated mortgage broker who can help you find the most competitive mortgage for your unique circumstances.