London, UK (BBN)-For a happier life and an affordable home, leave London and head to the north of England or remotest Scotland, research suggests.
Parts of Cumbria and Teesside – as well as Eilean Siar, the Scottish Western Isles – manage to best combine affordability with life satisfaction, topping a list compiled by a firm of estate agents, reports The Guardian.
Londoners, meanwhile, suffer the depressing combination of being unable to afford to live well in a city that doesn’t make them happy, according to the analysis by Hamptons International.
Using house-price-to-income ratios and the Life Satisfaction Index from the Office of National Statistics, Hamptons worked out which areas of Britain have the cheapest homes and cheeriest inhabitants.
Allerdale in north Cumbria came top of the list.
Though boasting more than its fair share of beaches, lakes and mountains, it is not necessarily the most obvious utopia, containing towns such as Maryport and Workington, home to some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Britain.
But Allerdale’s poetic mayor, Len Davies, was unsurprised. “I was born and raised in Liverpool and now I live in paradise,” he said on Monday.
“Crime levels are remarkably low and the house prices would make people in the south faint. You can get a three-bed semi for £89,000 in a place that’s absolutely stunning. I’ve seen salmon spawning in crystal clear water and herons catching fish; I’ve been up close to a kingfisher.”
He admitted the research may have been skewed somewhat by the high salaries earned by some Allerdale residents down at Sellafield nuclear power station in neighbouring Copeland, which came third on the list after the Ribble Valley in Lancashire.
“If Sellafield went down, we would be in serious trouble,” said Davies.
The average weekly gross salary for a full-time worker in Allerdale is £511.04, compared with the national average of £520.80.
In fourth place was the Staffordshire Moorlands, where an average two-bed property costs £115,000 – compared with £375,000 in the most miserable place, Haringey in north London.
Six of the 10 areas deemed the least happy and most expensive places are in the capital.
These include Hammersmith and Fulham, where a two-bed property costs £618,000, along with Lewisham (£298,000), Brent (£326,000) and Ealing (£360,000).
There is a seven-bed house with heated swimming pool currently on the market for offers above £280,000 in Stockton-on-Tees, which came fifth top for happiness and affordability.
To compile the list, Hamptons identified the most affordable and least affordable areas, where the house-price-to-income ratio was either within the lowest 25 per cent or highest 25 per cent.
“We then ranked these areas by happiness and life satisfaction ratings from the ONS,” said Johnny Morris, head of research at Hamptons.
“Overall it’s housing markets close to areas of outstanding natural beauty that top the list as happiest and affordable places to live. Life in the country, a good view and not too many neighbours seem to be some of the secrets to happiness.”