One way or another we’ve all embarked on the search for happiness. We find it in all sorts of places, of course, but when it comes to where we live does it have to come at a price?
Using ONS data, it’s possible to chart the connection between contentment (on a scale of 0 to 10) and location as well as how much more we’re prepared to pay for a home where we can be happy.
Our analysis highlights that, despite the rise of urban living in recent years, those who live in more rural areas appear to be happier than those in cities.
In particular, coastal areas or towns and villages in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, some of the most stunning parts of the country, are also some of the happiest.
Of the top 20 local authorities ranked by happiness:
- Four are on the coast with Fylde in the North West taking the top spot. Here there’s a house price premium of some 16 per cent over the regional average
- Ten are within National Parks or AONBs
- 16 command house price premiums compared with their region
Lifestyle is clearly a factor, but it’s also important to consider the demographic of local residents. These locations are likely to be popular with older, perhaps more affluent, buyers who have retired.
It’s no surprise that house prices in these places can come at a premium. But there are exceptions to the rule and areas such as Rother in East Sussex (home to Bexhill) and Waveney in Suffolk rank highly for happiness while offering a house price discount when compared with their wider regional average.
There are house price hotspots such as Southwold in Waveney, however, where local buyers must compete with second home buyers for properties right on the coast.
Happiest Top 10
Top 20% of the happiest local authority areas – with the biggest house price premium
Top 20% of the happiest local authority areas – with the biggest house price discount