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It’s so very nice to be beside the seaside

St Ives, in Cornwall, is the happiest place to live in Great Britain, the property portal Rightmove has decided.

Its annual Happy at Home Index ranked towns according to 10 criteria including community spirit, sense of belonging, friendliness of residents, and sporting and recreational activities.

On these bases St Ives outshone Skipton, ranked second, and Leamington Spa (third). The happiest place to live in Wales was Llandrindod Wells, ranked fourth overall, and the happiest in Scotland was Perth, ranked fifth.

Happiest ratings were reflected in house prices and rents. In St Ives the average price of a house is just over £413k while the average monthly rent for a two bedroomed property is £719.

The most expensive of the top 20 happiest places to live was Richmond upon Thames, where the cost of a house averages £870k and average rents for a two bedroomed house are £1,879. The cheapest was Llandrindod Wells where the figures were £51k and £422, respectively.

The 2020 study had over 21,000 respondents and confirmed that coastal areas in general were where people were most likely to say they felt the happiest about the town in which they were living.

This reflected a nationwide trend towards wanting better access to outdoor spaces, said Rightmove.

‘Our study also discovered that people living in rural and coastal locations were more likely to have developed a greater affinity with their local area during the initial lockdown period, suggesting that accessibility to green spaces made people more appreciative of where they live’.

Of the people planning to buy or rent in the next 12 months, six in ten claimed they now place greater importance on access to nature and green spaces when deciding on the area and home they want to live in.

This trend was most notable among younger home-movers in the 18 to 34 age group, said Rightmove.