Watch: Hexham named the happiest place in the UK to live
Hexham in Northumberland has been revealed as the happiest place to live in the UK, according to Rightmove’s annual Happy at Home Index for 2021.
Residents of the market town were happier than any other place in the UK due to the sense of community spirit and feeling of belonging in the area, as well as its access to nature and green spaces.
Hexham also reached the top spot in 2019 and regained its crown this year as locals also pointed to how friendly and polite people are in the town.
The average asking price for a home in Hexham is £297,088 ($398,187), an increase of 6% compared to last year when the average price was £280,128, and an increase of 20% compared to five years ago, when the average price was £246,919. This is lower than the current national average of £342,401.
Richmond-upon-Thames took second place in this year’s survey, now in its tenth year, as well as being the happiest place in London for the seventh year running. The average price for a property in Richmond-upon-Thames is almost £1.2m, while monthly rents average £3,235.
Harrogate in Yorkshire came in at number three on the list, followed by Hove in south east England.
Llandrindod Wells, which took fifth place overall, also topped the list of the happiest place to live in Wales.
Stirling is the happiest place in Scotland in 2021, coming in at number six overall.
Monmouth, St Ives, Anglesey, and Leamington Spa round out the top 10.
A sense of belonging was the most important factor for overall happiness, according to the survey. Also important were the friendliness of the locals, and being able to be yourself.
Seven of this year’s top 20 happiest towns were market towns, typically being smaller towns with weekly markets bringing the local community together.
"This 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 reconnected to their area and local community," said Rightmove.
Some 69% of people who moved house in the last year, chose to move to a different area. Nearly two-thirds of these (64%), said they are happier in their new area, compared with where they moved from.
Happiness was highest amongst those who moved from a town to a village, with 81% saying they were happier after their move.
People living 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.
Brits living in a coastal village were the happiest of all, with people living in a coastal town or city more likely to be happy in their area than someone living in a similar home inland.
Ailsa Mather, director at Andrew Coulson estate agent in Hexham, said: “The past 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% 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.”
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