The coastal town of Leigh-on-Sea in Essex has been named the happiest place to live in Great Britain for the second time in three years.
The Essex town was top of the list back in 2016, dropped slightly to third place in 2017, but is now back in first place.
Leigh-on-Sea scored highly for community spirit, the opportunity to develop skills and restaurants and shops.
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Online estate agent Rightmove questioned 21,000 people, asking them to rate factors such as community spirit, cultural activities and local services.
The average asking price of a home in the estuary town is £386,613, which is a 2% increase on this time last year and £82,552 higher than the national average asking price of £304,061.
Valerie Morgan, chair of Leigh-on-Sea town council, says: “Leigh is a very pleasant place to live, we are very close to the sea and there are plenty of opportunities for people to get out and get some fresh air. We’re all quite friendly here. People like to pass the time of day with one another, rather than ignore each other.”
She adds: “There is also quite a large dog walking community down here so there’s lots of social interaction and people stopping and chatting to each other. We’ve got a great micro-climate in this corner of the country, the weather is so lovely.”
The findings illustrate the value of a prominent community spirit, with each of the top ten locations having a population of fewer than 60,000.
Last year’s happiest place to live, Leamington Spa, retained a spot in the top ten after finishing fifth overall, while Richmond upon Thames is still the happiest place to live in the capital.
Outside of England, Dumfries in Scotland returned the highest score for community spirit, while Caerphilly in Wales was found to have the friendliest neighbours.
The South East of England is the region which features most prominently in the top ten, with Tunbridge Wells joining Farnham and Newbury in the highest tier of the index.
|The top 10 happiest places in Britain|
|1||Leigh-on-Sea||East of England|
|5||Leamington Spa||West Midlands|
|8||Hitchin||East of England|
|9||Tunbridge Wells||South East|
Source: Rightmove, November 2018
Rightmove’s housing market expert Miles Shipside says: “Every year the factors that drive happiness tend to be about how people feel living in an area and the people around them.
This year, however, sense of belonging has become an even bigger driver of happiness, which shows the people of Great Britain really value feeling proud of the place they call home.
“The relationship of these two factors suggests that people think highly of a thriving community spirit, which could explain why the top ten are all smaller places.”