Real Estate

Happiest places to live in Britain 2021 revealed by Rightmove

The Northumberland market town of Hexham has once again been crowned the happiest place to live in Britain.

Happy residents in the town on the River Tyne were previously given the title in 2019 before dropping down the rankings to 12th position last year.

It is now back on top after scoring highly on several factors, including having a sense of community and a feeling of belonging.

Hexham is the happiest place to live in Britain and this six-bed link-detached house for sale for £525,000 is only a short walking distance from the town centre 

The Northumberland market town of Hexham is the happiest place to live in Britain, according to new research by Rightmove

The Northumberland market town of Hexham is the happiest place to live in Britain, according to new research by Rightmove

Other factors taken into account in the research by property website Rightmove included access to nature and green spaces, and how friendly and polite people are.

The average asking price of a home in Hexham is £297,088, up 6 per cent on a year ago and up 20 per cent compared to five years ago. However, the current average value remains lower than the national average of £324,401.

Derek Kennedy, the Mayor of Hexham, said: ‘Hexham is thrilled to be awarded the happiest place to live in Britain. We are a small town with a 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. 

‘Excellent schools ensure good educational standards. Organised sports include a weekly park run, cricket, tennis, golf and water sports on the mighty River Tyne. The open countryside is wonderful with Hadrian’s Wall on our doorstep.’

He added: ‘The Town Council recently introduced a free live music twice a week into our glorious bandstand, drawing around 200 people to every session. Our events such as Spook night, Remembrance Day, Farmers Market and Christmas Market draw lots of people from across the region to the town.

‘We have big ambitions to progress our sustainable development and we work with interested groups to enhance the town. We all know how great it is to live in Hexham but to win this accolade is fantastic.’

This four-bedroom semi-detached house is in the second happiest place to live - Richmond in Surrey - and is for sale for £2.8million via Hamptons estate agents

This four-bedroom semi-detached house is in the second happiest place to live – Richmond in Surrey – and is for sale for £2.8million via Hamptons estate agents

Ailsa Mather, of Andrew Coulson estate agents in Hexham, added: ‘Hexham is a historic town in the heart of Northumberland. 

‘We enjoy lots of green open spaces, including the Sele Park and Tyne Green on the banks of the River Tyne. We are lucky to have an abundance of lovely independent restaurants, bars and cafes, and a weekly market.

‘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. 

‘More than 38 per cent 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.’

This five-bed property in Harrogate has been converted into three self-contained flats and is for sale for £575,000 via Hunters estate agents

This five-bed property in Harrogate has been converted into three self-contained flats and is for sale for £575,000 via Hunters estate agents

WHERE ARE THE HAPPIEST PLACES TO LIVE IN BRITAIN?
Rank Place Region Average Asking Price Average Asking Rent (PCM)
1 Hexham North East £297,088 £842
2 Richmond upon Thames Greater London £1,196,892 £3,235
3 Harrogate Yorkshire and the Humber £353,624 £1,163
4 Hove South East £525,906 £1,879
5 Llandrindod Wells Wales £193,601 £445
6 Stirling Scotland £191,226 £877
7 Monmouth Wales £312,649 £929
8 St Ives South West £494,393 £1,150
9 Anglesey Wales £278,391 £776
10 Leamington Spa West Midlands £350,981 £1,203
11 Perth Scotland £167,160 £679
12 Hitchin East of England £491,223 £1,392
13 Woodbridge East of England £427,542 £1,129
14 Kendal North West £258,961 £837
15 Macclesfield North West £277,772 £981
16 Exeter South West £303,215 £1,234
17 Salisbury South West £318,806 £1,090
18 Horsham South East £433,892 £1,433
19 St. Albans East of England £632,320 £1,888
20 Guildford South East £542,947 £1,913
Source: Rightmove       

Rightmove’s study is in its tenth year and collected responses from more than 21,000 people across Britain.

It asked people how they felt about where they live and to rank 10 happiness factors. These included opportunities to develop skills, as well as access to cultural activities, sports and essential services.

Richmond-upon-Thames came second overall in this year’s study, marking a rise up the national rankings, as well as being the happiest place in London for the seventh year running.

This attractive family home in happy Hove has seven bedrooms and is for sale for £1.5million via estate agents Lextons

This attractive family home in happy Hove has seven bedrooms and is for sale for £1.5million via estate agents Lextons

Outside of England, Stirling is this year’s happiest place in Scotland, while Llandrindod Wells, fifth place overall, is the happiest place to live in Wales.

This year’s study found a sense of belonging, the friendliness of locals and being able to be yourself were the most important factors in feeling happy in an area. Rightmove suggested that this shows how important having a sense of community is to overall happiness.

A third of this year’s top 20 happiest towns were market towns, typically smaller towns with weekly markets bringing the local community together.

The importance of connection carries over into this year’s study following the lockdown periods and builds on the findings from last year, where people felt they had to reconnect to their area and local community.

The importance of togetherness can also be seen in the types of settlements that made people most happy. Those in villages were more likely to be happy in their area than those in towns or cities, as they were more likely to feel the sense of community in their area, and have access to nature and green spaces.

Meanwhile, those living in a coastal village were the happiest of all, and those living in a coastal town or city were more likely to be happy in their area than someone living in a similar home inland.

This four-bed detached property is in Scotland's Stirling and is currently on the market via Aberdein Considine estate agents for £675,000

This four-bed detached property is in Scotland’s Stirling and is currently on the market via Aberdein Considine estate agents for £675,000

The red-hot property market in the first nine months of the year means that Rightmove predicts by the end of 2021 1.5 million transactions will have taken place. 

The results of this year’s study show that those who have made a move are happier in their area than those who haven’t, regardless of where they have moved to.

More than two-thirds – at 69 per cent – of people who moved in the last year, chose to move to a different area. Nearly two-thirds of these people – at 64 per cent – , said they are happier in the area they now live, compared with where they moved from. One in five – at 21 per cent – said they were just as happy in their new area.

Being happier in a new area was highest among those who moved from a town to a village, with 81 per cent saying they were happier where they now live, and 11 per cent were just as happy as where they lived before.

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, of Rightmove, 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.’


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