Britain’s happiest places to live in 2018 have officially been released, but where are they and what makes residents so pleased to live there?
We’ll take a look at the areas that made top of the list and share tips on how to find and secure your dream home.
Top 10 happiest places to live
The figures are in and the Essex coastal town of Leigh-on-Sea has been crowned the happiest place to live in Great Britain.
It’s the second time in three years that Leigh-on-Sea claimed the title, having previously been voted top place in 2016.
The average asking price in the area is £386,613, according to Rightmove data; £82,552 higher than the national average asking price of £304,061.
In second place came Farnham in Surrey, where the average asking price is £576,563, a staggering £272,502 more than the national average asking price.
Monmouth, in Wales, took third place, where the average asking price is £27,218 cheaper than the national average and stands at £276,843.
The table below shows the top 10 happiest towns in Great Britain and the average asking price in each area.
It also shows the highest ranking area for each region.
What makes a town happy?
Rightmove surveyed 21,000 people across the UK and asked residents to rank the following 12 happiness factors about where they live:
- I feel a sense of community spirit
- I feel a sense of belonging
- I feel safe
- I earn enough to live comfortably
- I can be myself
- The people are friendly and polite
- Sports and recreational activities
- Artistic and cultural activities
- Opportunities to develop skills
- Nature and green spaces
- Essential local services (doctors, schools)
- Non-essential amenities (shops, restaurants).
A sense of community spirit was found to be one of the key factors that contributed to residents feeling happy about where they live, and each of the top 10 happiest towns has a population of less than 60,000.
Leigh-on-Sea scored highly for having a sense of community spirit, providing residents with the opportunity to develop their skills as well as having a good selection of local restaurants and shops.
Miles ShipsideHousing market expert at Rightmove said: ‘Every year the factors that drive happiness tend to be about how people feel living in an area and the people around them. This year, however, a sense of belonging has become an even bigger driver of happiness, which shows the people of Great Britain really value feeling proud of the place they call home.
‘The relationship of these two factors suggests that people think highly of a thriving community spirit, which could explain why the top ten are all smaller places.’
Where does your town rank for happiness?
Find out where your town ranks for happiness by searching the table below.
How to choose where to buy
Choosing the right property location can be tricky, especially if you’d like to move to a new area.
The factors that are most important when it comes to the location of the home you buy will be specific to your circumstances. For example, you might want to have a shorter commute or live closer to family or be by the sea.
As a general rule, there are a number of things you should consider that will indicate how good your quality of life will be and how likely your property is to grow in value.
Our area comparison tool helps you sift through different local authorities and weigh up factors such as Osted ratings for schools, local house prices and overall quality of life, too.
You can also compare the results of different local authorities to each other or to the national average.
Have a go at comparing local authorities using the tool below.
Tips for buying a house
1) Research your chosen area(s)
It’s important to do some digging into the areas that you could potentially move to. If you’re not familiar with the town or neighbourhood it might be worth spending a night or two at a local B&B to get a better idea of your commute, local shops, restaurants and general atmosphere.
2) Save for a deposit
You’ll need to build up a deposit of at least 5% of a property’s value to try and secure a mortgage.
Usually, bigger deposits allow you to access better mortgage deals so it’s worth holding out and saving for longer if you can.
If you have a smaller deposit and need to buy a property sooner rather than later, there are several options available including; Help to Buy Equity loans, shared ownership and where possible, help from family.
3) Find out how much you can borrow
The amount of money a provider is willing to lend you to buy a house will depend on a number of factors.
These include the size of your deposit, your income, your credit score and other lending criteria.
If you’re buying a property with other people, your mortgage provider will take their finances into account too.
An independent mortgage broker will be able to advise you on how much you’re likely to be able to borrow.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.