Hexham in Northumberland has been crowned the happiest place to live in Great Britain by Rightmove.
The quaint market town saw off competition from Harrogate and Richmond upon Thames to secure first place in the property portal’s ‘Happy at Home Index’.
Read on to find out how your town ranks for happiness, and get advice on choosing the right place to buy a home.
Happy at home in Hexham
Rightmove’s index is based on a survey of 22,000 people, who rate their town on 12 ‘happiness’ factors.
Hexham, which acts as a gateway to Hadrian’s Wall, topped this year’s table.
The market town got high marks for sense of community, earnings, and essential services such as healthcare and good schools.
Richmond upon Thames was voted the happiest place in London for the fifth year in a row, while Galashiels topped the table for Scotland, and Llandrindod won in Wales.
House prices and rents in the happiest towns
Perhaps surprisingly, five of the top 10 happiest towns in Britain have property asking prices below the national average of £302,808.
That includes Hexham, where sellers list for an average of £254,237. Bargain hunters could be in luck, too – asking prices have fallen by 5% here in the past 12 months.
Unsurprisingly, the most expensive place in the top 10 is Greater London’s sole entry, Richmond upon Thames, where asking prices average a whopping £815,717.
|Rank||Place||Region||Average asking price||Average asking rent (two bedrooms)|
|2||Harrogate||Yorkshire and the Humber||£341,524||£776|
|3||Richmond upon Thames||Greater London||£815,717||£1,723|
|4||Skipton||Yorkshire and the Humber||£233,274||£622|
Happiest regions of Great Britain
The South West of England was voted the happiest region in Great Britain, followed by the South East.
While the winning town was in the North East, the region as a whole finished in a decidedly low table spot in the survey.
Well known for its high property prices, Greater London finished second-worst, in ninth position, while the West Midlands claimed the wooden spoon.
|3||East of England|
|7||Yorkshire and the Humber|
How does your town rank?
Rightmove’s survey focused on 194 areas right across Great Britain, so there’s a good chance your area will appear somewhere in the list, even if it’s not threatening the leaderboard.
You can use the interactive table below to find out how your town fared.
Simply select your region from the drop-down list, and you’ll then be able to compare how your town ranks both within the region and in Great Britain as a whole.
How is happiness measured?
Rightmove’s survey measured levels of happiness around Great Britain based on the following 12 indicators:
- sense of community spirit
- sense of belonging
- earning enough to live comfortably
- feeling that you can be yourself
- friendly and polite people
- sports and recreational activities
- artistic and cultural activities
- opportunities to develop skills
- nature and green spaces
- essential local services (such as doctors and schools)
- non-essential amenities (such as shops and restaurants)
How to find the best place to live
Choosing the right place to buy a home can be tricky, especially if you’re looking to move to a new area.
And while some of the factors listed above may influence your decision, different things matter to different people.
For example, you might be looking for a place where the value of your home is likely to grow and allow you to progress up the property ladder, or you might want to lay down roots for the long term near the best school for your children.
We’ve created an area-comparison tool which can help you to sift through different areas and weigh up important factors, including local house prices and the Ofsted ratings of local schools.
Simply type in the name of an area or a postcode to start your comparison.
Five tips to help your property search
Property prices and quality of life can vary from road to road, let alone town to town.
With this in mind, once you’ve narrowed down your search, consider the following factors when choosing a street to live on.
- Nearby shops and facilities: does the area match your lifestyle? For example, check for restaurants if you enjoy eating out regularly, or gyms if you like to work out. How far away is the doctor’s surgery and the nearest bank branch?
- Transport connections: if you don’t drive, timing your commute is key. Do some trial runs to see how frequent (and busy) buses and trains are, and how much they’ll cost you. If you drive, consider how any popular local landmarks such as shopping centres or sports stadiums could affect your journeys.
- School catchment areas: if you have (or are planning to have) children, check out the catchment areas for local schools. Boundaries can change from year to year, so ensure you’re looking at the most up-to-date information.
- Air quality: air pollution can affect your health on both a short and long-term basis. Is the property on or near a busy road with lots of traffic? The government’s UK Air website is the place to go for air-quality forecasts.
- Crime rates: how do crime rates and types compare with other areas? You can find crime maps by postcode, as well as information on the performance of local police forces, on the Police.uk website.
For more helpful advice on searching for a property, including how to spot an up-and-coming area, check out our guide on finding the best places to live.