ONS data shows slight uplift in public well-being, but least affordable property markets continue to be the least happy

The latest data release from the ONS looks at the wellbeing of the UK and how this has changed, including the impact of housing on how happy we are, with the report showing that: –


  • In the year ending March 2019, there was little change in personal well-being measures in the UK, apart from a slight improvement in average happiness ratings which increased from 7.52 to 7.56.


  • Over this period, the only significant change at country level was in Northern Ireland, where anxiety ratings increased from 2.53 to 2.83 (out of 10). This brought Northern Ireland back into line with the other UK countries on this measure.


  • The first year from which we have a full UK baseline at local level is the year ending March 2013. Since then, average life satisfaction improved by 3.4% in the UK, with the largest improvement recorded in London (4.6%) at regional level.


  • Over the same long-term period, average anxiety ratings in the UK improved by 5.3%, with the North West seeing the largest improvement (by 9.7%) at regional level.


  • Across the UK, areas with persistently higher average well-being ratings, between the years ending March 2012 and March 2019, included the Orkney Islands, Na h-Eileanan Siar, and Shetland Islands in Scotland, and Fermanagh and Omagh in Northern Ireland.


  • Over the same period, areas with persistently lower average well-being ratings included the London boroughs of Lambeth, Hackney, Islington and Camden.


Founder and CEO of Stone Real Estate, Michael Stone, commented:

“Despite the UK being put through the political wringer since the EU referendum, the overall wellbeing of the nation remains resolute and has even seen a slight uplift. A coincidence, perhaps, that this uplift should come at a time when the drastic levels of house price growth seen in previous years have eased and we’ve seen a slight uplift in wages?

While this top-line view is positive, there are still many areas of the UK property market that continue to contribute negatively to the well-being of those residing within it.

These are for the large part, the least affordable, and It’s no coincidence that while large swathes of London are improving, the capital is home to some of the lowest rates of well-being and some of the highest house prices.

Andy Scott, Founder and CEO of the business turnaround specialists, REL Capital, commented:

“Fixing Britain’s broken housing market isn’t just about building more homes, it’s about the overall health of our nation, and the provision of these homes is just the first step in helping to cultivate public well-being.

This is something the Government should be taking much more seriously than they currently are, along with other leading indicators such as crime, employment and earnings.”

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