The happiest place to live in the UK in 2022 has been revealed

St Ives, Cornwall
(Image credit: Getty Images)

St Ives in Cornwall is the happiest place to live in the UK, according to the annual Rightmove Happy at Home Index for 2022.

Residents of the riverside town are happier than any other area, scoring the highest for sense of community, feeling of belonging in the area, and how comfortable residents feel to be themselves.

St Ives overtakes the Northumberland town of Hexham to this year’s top spot, which earned the crown in 2021 and 2019. The two towns have alternated for first place since 2019. 

To move to St Ives, the average asking price for a home is £523,371. This follows a steep rise in house prices over the past two years, and marks a 6% rise on last year’s asking price of £492,870. Rightmove says the current national average asking price is £366,999.

Demand for homes in coastal areas like St Ives has significantly outstripped supply since the beginning of the pandemic, Rightmove says, but this eased in 2022 with enquiries to buy a home in Cornwall up 9% compared to 2019. 

In Scotland, Galashiels was declared the happiest place to live, and took second place nationally, while Anglesey won the crown in Wales. Richmond upon Thames is once again the happiest place to live in London, coming top for an eighth year in a row.

What is the Happy at Home Index?

Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index is now in its 11th year, and uses the responses of more than 21,000 people across the UK to explain how they feel about where they live. Respondents are asked to rank 10 happiness factors, such as being able to be yourself in your area and having a sense of belonging.

The findings showed that having a sense of belonging is the most important contributor to overall happiness, with other factors including access to green space. Having a garden was the most important aspect aspiring homebuyers (26%) would consider when moving into a new property. 

St. Ives, Dusk, Cornwall

The average asking price for a home in St Ives is £523,371 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Meanwhile, as changing work patterns continue to impact how we all view our homes, 65% of respondents said working from home or hybrid working has become a permanent part of their lives this year.

Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “This year’s Happy at Home survey really shows that the things that make people happy to live in their area are not so much the physical aspects of that area but more the personal aspects, such as our sense of belonging, the community and the people.

“The last few months have undoubtedly been difficult for many, and as we learned during another difficult period in 2020, this is often when we look to our local area and community for support and happiness.”

Britain’s 20 happiest places to live with average asking property prices

1. St Ives, South West, £523,721
2. Galashiels, Scotland, £153,546
3. Woodbridge, East of England, £481,978
4. Hexham, North East, £262,265
5. Perth, Scotland, £179,410
6. Harrogate, Yorkshire and The Humber, £381,124
7. Anglesey, Wales, £324,048
8. Bury St Edmunds, East of England, £334,160
9. Stirling, Scotland, £197,075
10. Cirencester, South West, £382,065
11. Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, £1,153,347
12. Falmouth, South West, £373,752
13. Monmouth, Wales, £331,844
14. Leamington Spa, West Midlands, £383,553
15. Worcester, West Midlands, £286,250
16. Northwich, North West, £246,995
17. Altrincham, North West, £615,246
18. Macclesfield, North West, £292,078
19. Newbury, South East, £380,842
20. Llandudno, Wales, £260,245

Jack Woodfield
News Editor

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 

He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.