Essex seaside town Leigh-on-Sea crowned happiest place to live due to a strong community spirit and sense of belonging, good access to sports and arts activities and opportunities to develop skills
Troon in Scotland is second place, and Harrogate, winner for the past three years, ranks high in third
Swansea takes the Welsh top spot and Richmond wins for London for the second year in a row
Rightmove’s annual Happy at Home Index asks residents to rate where they live based on 12 happiness factors, across 206 areas in Great Britain
The residents of civil parish Leigh-on-Sea in Essex have had their say, and they’re a very happy bunch indeed.
Almost 24,000 people across Great Britain took part in Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index, with the results showing that living by the sea seems to do wonders for happiness, as second place is another seaside town – Troon in Scotland – where locals feel they can be themselves and feel safe.
The study asks residents to rank twelve factors about their local area, ranging from how friendly the neighbours are and how much people feel that they can be themselves, to how good the local services are.
Leigh-on-Sea scored high for community spirit and a strong sense of belonging, and locals say there’s plenty to do as well as the town tops the list for good access to sports and arts activities and opportunities to develop skills. The ripple effect of rising house prices out from London to the commuter belt has led to a 15% increase in asking prices in Leigh-on-Sea over the past year, to £384,439.
The picturesque spa town of Harrogate has come top for the past three years, and although it’s been knocked off the top this year by the lure of the seaside, it has still made it into third place, with its beautiful green spaces helping its happiness ranking.
Rightmove’s Research Manager Abiola Oni said:
“Well it seems the saying that we do like to ‘be beside the seaside’ is true, whether you’re down in the South East or up in Scotland! Obviously what ‘happy’ means to different people can vary greatly, but when you compare which factors score highest in the happiest areas, it shows just how important having friendly people in the local community area is alongside the services and amenities, which is something buyers often tell us when they are looking in new areas to live. Space is also one of the most important things when people are looking for a new home, so it’s not surprising that places with open spaces such as beautiful parks and beaches have featured in the top ten.”