Rightmove Happy at Home Index 2023: Richmond upon Thames named happiest place to live by residents

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  • The borough of Richmond upon Thames in London has been crowned the happiest place to live in Great Britain, followed by Winchester in Hampshire:
    • It’s the first time a London location has topped Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index, now in its 12th year
  • Monmouth in Wales takes third place, the first time an area from Wales has made the top three since 2018, and Galashiels is the happiest place to live in Scotland for the second year in a row
  • Overall, rural residents are happier than city residents, especially those living near a national park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • The Happy at Home Index asks residents how they feel about their area and was completed this year by over 26,000 people. Some of the other key trends that emerged from this year’s report include:
    • Feeling a sense of pride, belonging and community is most likely to contribute to feeling happy to live in an area, more than having access to things like public transport, schools and job opportunities
    • Around one in three (30%) think they would be happier living somewhere else, with the South West the most popular region this group aspires to move to
    • To be happier, move to a bigger home, or a change of lifestyle are some of the most common reasons people want to move home

 

The borough of Richmond upon Thames in London has been crowned the happiest place to live in Great Britain in Rightmove’s 12th annual Happy at Home Index, the first time an area from London has taken the top spot.

 

Residents of the borough of Richmond, home to locations such as Twickenham, Hampton and Richmond itself, scored it highly for feeling a sense of belonging to the area and being comfortable to be themselves, as well as its access to nature and green spaces, being home to Bushy and Richmond Royal Parks.

 

Winchester in Hampshire came second in the list of happiest areas to live. Monmouth in Wales is third, the first time an area from Wales has made the top three since 2018, and Galashiels is the happiest place to live in Scotland for a second consecutive year.

 

The Happy at Home Index asks residents how they feel about their area based on 13 happiness factors. It was completed this year by over 26,000 people.

 

The study found that feeling a sense of pride, belonging, and community is most likely to contribute to feeling happy to live in an area, more so than having access to things like public transport, schools and job opportunities.

 

A tale of city and country

 

One of the key trends to emerge from this year’s study is that those living in rural areas are more likely to be happy where they live than city residents, especially those living near a national park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

 

Those who live in a rural environment, for example in the countryside or villages, were more likely to say they were happy where they live than residents of urban or suburban cities and towns.

 

Delving deeper into the findings, residents who live near woodland, mountains, the coast or a river, were more likely to be happy in their area than those who live in a built-up area.

 

The analysis showed that having access to nature and green spaces is more important to residents than having access to public transport, shops and restaurants, and employment opportunities.

 

Feeling happy elsewhere

 

Around one in three (30%) residents think that they would be happier living in a different area.

 

This group is most likely to be younger (18-34), currently living in an urban or built-up area, or come from London, the East Midlands or the West Midlands.

 

When considering where they may be happier living, this group are split between staying in the same region (46%) and moving to a completely new part of Great Britain (54%).

 

Of those who think they’d be happier living in a different region, the South West is the most popular choice. However, only a third (35%) of those who think they’d be happier living in a different area are planning on moving in the next year.

 

Get moving to get happy

 

There are always many individual motivations driving moves, and this year the top reason residents said they were looking to move home was to find an area that makes them happier (37%).

 

Moving to a bigger home (28%), looking for better value for money (27%), wanting a change of lifestyle (24%) and changes to personal circumstances (21%) also came high on the list of reasons people are looking to move.

 

Downsizing (11%), reducing energy costs (10%) and taking advantage of remote working to live somewhere new (9%) were other factors for those planning a move.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s property expert said: “Searching for new areas outside of the city that are still commutable on office days and looking for cheaper properties that are in need of renovation are just some of the actions we’ve seen determined movers take this year. The results of this year’s study highlights that residents continue to value living near green spaces and natural beauty, features that became all the more important during the pandemic. With moving to an area that makes them happy a key motivator for people looking for their next home, highlighting these types of features nearby could really help sellers looking to appeal to potential buyers”.

 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m delighted for Richmond to win this award. It has so much of what makes London so special – its access to beautiful green spaces, its real sense of community, and an array of shops, cafes and local culture that makes it stand out.”

 

Dawn Platt, Associate Director of Chestertons’ Richmond branch, says: “Richmond really has got it all. Access to nature, schools, entertainment, good eateries, bars and shops. On top of this, the borough benefits from a riverside location and great transport links. Thanks to its lifestyle offerings, it’s not difficult to see why Richmond has established itself as one of London’s most sought-after locations nor why residents are happy living here.

 

“We encounter a lot of house hunters who have always had the goal of living in Richmond one day and once they have moved here, couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Due to its community feel, many see Richmond as an area to settle down long-term.”

 

Adam James, Director at James Agent in the Scottish Borders, said: “Galashiels is the hub of the Scottish Borders, with something to love for every resident. The friendly people, strong community and good value for money means it remains popular with families each year, while the university, good choice of entertainment and job opportunities also makes it a favourite among younger people too.

 

“This is reflected in the different types of home for sale – Galashiels has everything from large Victorian-era homes, to affordable flats for first-time buyers. We also see a number of buyers making the journey up from the south to settle in Galashiels, attracted by the rural location and peaceful lifestyle on offer. Nothing quite beats some of the rural walks on offer in Galashiels and other locations in the Borders.

 

“Over the last couple of years we’ve seen the popularity of the area rise even further with the introduction of the Waverley line, which makes transport to Edinburgh much easier. So not only do residents of Galashiels have everything they could want on their doorstep, but for those also looking for some of the attractions of a larger city, they can also get that too.”

 

 

Great Britain’s Happiest Places 2023
Rank Place Region Average Asking Price Average Asking Rent (per calendar month)
1 Richmond upon Thames Greater London £952,305 £3,148
2 Winchester South East £571,613 £2,097
3 Monmouth Wales £349,312 £1,214
4 Wokingham South East £572,992 £2,074
5 Cirencester South West £394,216 £1,477
6 Skipton Yorkshire and The Humber £259,692 £875
7 Hemel Hempstead East of England £424,649 £1,703
8 Kensington and Chelsea Greater London £1,812,424 £5,371
9 St Ives South West £515,352 £1,248
10 Hexham North East £317,359 £957
11 Leigh on Sea East of England £461,804 £1,637
12 Harrogate Yorkshire and The Humber £394,085 £1,448
13 Clacton on Sea East of England £263,481 £1,206
14 Kendal North West £280,276 £933
15 Galashiels Scotland £163,634 £700
16 Weymouth South West £318,465 £1,234
17 Woodbridge East of England £489,955 £1,153
18 Anglesey Wales £315,742 £840
19 St. Albans East of England £674,189 £2,235
20 Stourbridge West Midlands £288,753 £1,028

 

Rightmove

UK Property news updates shared directly from Rightmove PLC - the country's leading property portal.

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