The term happy can be a challenge to define as everyone’s definition is unique to them, but the over-arching explanation of the word by the Oxford English Dictionary is ‘the state of pleasurable contentment of mind; deep pleasure in or contentment with one’s circumstances’.
But surely there’s little doubt amongst most people that where you live is one of the core strands in life that can affect your happiness, and this became more evident during the Covid-19 pandemic when so many more people, if they could, made plans to move to a new home, leading to the most remarkable and rapid heating up of the property market in recent years.
Every year property portal Rightmove produces a ‘Happy at Home Index’ as a way of quantifying the happiest hot spots across Great Britain. Now in its eleventh year, the index is conducted among over 21,000 people across Great Britain, to find the top twenty happiest places to call home.
The company asks residents how they feel about where they live, as well as asking them to rank ten happiness factors, including how much they feel a sense of belonging to their area, and whether there is access to green space.
The research reveals that a sense of belonging in an area is the number one factor which contributes to someone feeling happy where they live. But the research also looks at people’s future home plans too.
One in five (22%) renters said they planned to move in the next 12 months to get better value for money in their area, along with 16% of buyers. One in ten renters (11%) said they were moving to reduce energy costs, rising to 12% for buyers.
When considering what was most important about the property they might move to, a garden is most important to buyers (29%), however renters are more concerned about the energy costs of the property (20%). Meanwhile, working from home or hybrid working has become a more permanent part of life this year as the survey found 65% of people said they were now able to work from home.
Rightmove data also shows both buyers and renters have become more flexible in their search for a new home, increasing the radius of the location that they are enquiring about to sales and letting agents, with the ability to work from home a likely contributor to this.
The number one happiest place to live in Great Britain is St Ives, Cornwall. Since the pandemic started, demand for homes has greatly outstripped supply in many coastal areas like St Ives and though this has eased during 2022, enquiries to buy a home in Cornwall are still 9% higher than 2019.
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And this noticeable shift in people’s wants and needs has been most felt in Wales on a regional basis. Our nation has, month after month, from a variety of sources including the Office for National Statistics and Principality Building Society, has been the region in the UK with the highest average house price increases. Find out more about that here.
There are three locations in Wales that appear in Rightmove’s ‘Happy at Home Index’ top 20, and they are the Isle of Anglesey at number seven, and therefore the happiest place in Wales, Monmouth at number 13 and Llandudno squeezing in at number 20.
Top 20 Happiest Places to Live in Great Britain 2022
1. St Ives
8. Bury St Edmunds
11. Richmond upon Thames
14. Leamington Spa
Isle of Anglesey
The happiest place to live in Wales according to Rightmove is the Isle of Anglesey, a jewel in the nation’s crown that can offer coast and country, history and culture, and a range of properties to suit most buying budgets.
There are hot spots for socialising such as Beaumaris and an abundance of places to find peace and tranquillity, from a winter walk on one of the gorgeous beaches to exploring the more remote areas of the countryside.
According to Rightmove properties on the Isle of Anglesey had an overall average price of £236,774 over the last year. Overall, sold prices over the last year were 5% up on the previous year and 25% up on the 2019 peak of £189,200.
The majority of sales during the last year were terraced properties, selling for an average price of £154,394. Detached properties sold for an average of £349,460, with semi-detached properties fetching £212,052.
A private slipway to the beach is just one of the many unique charms of this beachside abode that make it a property of many people’s seaside dreams, right on the front line of the beach, with the garden literally spilling over onto the sand below.
And that beach that this fabulously located home calls its direct neighbour is the sandy shore that flanks the village of Rhosneigr on the Isle of Anglesey, just up the coast from the estate that William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, once called home.
The handsome home comes with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, four reception rooms with three on the beachside of the house, a large kitchen breakfast room and a triple garage. Of course, there are fabulous views from the windows and who wouldn’t love sitting on the patio or the garden lawn with the beach at the end and watch the coastal world go by?
The house by the beach, called St David’s, with room and access for the boat too is for sale with a guide price of £2.25m with Savills, call the Chester branch on 01244 323232 to find out more.
Four Mile Bridge: £335,000
This detached house located in Four Mile Bridge near Trearddur Bay and Holyhead will happily tell you why it’s called Sunnyside – it has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, two reception rooms, a spacious kitchen diner and a sunny conservatory all spread across three floors.
There’s parking for two cars outside to compensate for the lack of a drive, and the garden at the rear is a private spot flanked by foliage. There’s even a glimpse of the sea from the top floor, and when the coast is calling you there are plenty of gorgeous beaches and bays nearby to visit, with maybe the most amazing to be found at Trearddur Bay.
The house might be located on the main road through the village, but the North Wales Expressway to the north of the location means any heavy traffic on route to ferry terminals at Holyhead do not pass by this front door. The sunny house is on the market for offers in the region of £335,000 with Lucas Estate Agents, Menai Bridge, call them on 012478 714567 to find out more.
Near Benllech: £379,950
This character-packed, pretty period property is located close to the east coast of the island near Benllech, a village that can boast one of the most popular beaches according to website Visit Anglesey, mainly due to its fine golden sand and clear blue waters which are safe for bathing and paddling and has good access for disabled visitors and families.
The stone cottage has been the recipient of a recent renovation project that has created a comfortable and charming home that effortlessly mixes character and timeless style with aspects of modern living.
Period features such as the staircase and stripped floorboards are encouraged to sing their loudest whilst cocooned in beautiful interior design appropriate to the style and age of the home but in no way dated – classic meets contemporary touches in an effortless partnership.
The detached cottage comes with oodles of off-road parking, three double bedrooms, two reception rooms with the dining room having French doors that open out onto a sunny rear garden with views across fields to the horizon.
There’s a utility room, an outbuilding in the garden, plus a stylish kitchen breakfast room, a lounge with a stone fireplace and a plush bathroom with roll-top slipper bath that will be hard to leave, even when the water goes cold. The cottage is for sale for £379,950 with Williams & Goodwin The Property People, Llangefni call 01248 751000 to find out more.
If a renovation project in the happiest location in Wales is what will make your heart sing with the potential to add value, and your budget happy with a lower price tag, then the Isle of Anglesey can deliver. This three-bed end of terrace is in need of an update but offers the chance to put your own ideas into its remodelling. It even comes with a bonus outbuilding and a rear extension.
The double-fronted house has a large front to back lounge, separate sitting room with the versatility to become a dining room, playroom or office should a new owner require any of these functions from their new home, plus a good sized garden that could easily accommodate a larger extension if wanted, or even an extra house, subject to planning consent.
The renovation in this small village near the Menai Strait coastline is for sale for £99,950 with Williams & Goodwin The Property People, call their Llangefni branch on 01248 751000 to find out more.
Monmouthshire consistently wears the crown as the most expensive county to buy a home in Wales, find out more about that here. And there is much to find within its boundaries that explains why – from rolling countryside that includes the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the abundance of history including castles and the majestic Tintern Abbey ruins.
There are pretty and thriving market towns and villages packed with characterful properties that make it a very desirable place to call home, with Usk being named as The Sunday Times best place to live in Wales in 2021 – find out more about that here.
Properties in Monmouth had an overall average price of £341,123 over the last year, 9% up on the previous year and 24% up on the 2019 peak of £274,289. The majority of sales in Monmouth during the last year were detached properties, selling for an average price of £521,956. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £279,110, with terraced properties fetching £241,344.
St James Square: £825,000
It’s huge and it’s historic and it is a house that will stop people in their tracks. Located on a prime spot in the square overlooking the Monmouth War Memorial and gardens, this breath-taking home is an elegant Grade II listed Georgian house, steeped in history. The past is evident in the layout design and original features, but the house is now providing flexible substantial family accommodation in the present, arranged over three floors with additional large walk-in attic area.
The principal rooms to the front of the house have high ceilings, the kitchen is at the rear and includes a dining area and access to a private courtyard garden, beyond which is the gravelled parking area. There are five bedrooms, three reception rooms, and three bathrooms behind one amazing and inspiring historic facade.
The house on the square oozing curb appeal outside and an abundance of features inside is for sale with a guide price of £825,000 with David James estate agents, Monmouth, call them on 01600 712916 to find out more.
Glendower Street: £400,000
Just around the corner from the main bustling high street and local amenities, that includes Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, a pharmacy and independent cafes and restaurants, this townhouse comes to market with no chain and plenty of character.
Inside there are delightful stripped, period wood floors, exposed beams and fireplaces to find across three floors that offer a living room, dining room and kitchen with a door out to the garden on the ground floor. Go up a level to a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, and then there are two further bedrooms on the top floor.
Outside a cobbled courtyard provides an idyllic space for alfresco dining, along with a useful outbuilding for garden storage and beyond that there is a shared, extensive lawned garden with mature trees and shrubs. The townhouse offers the opportunity to live in the centre of town as well as bring your own interior design taste to the charm and character already living at the address.
The house is for sale with a guide price of £400,000 with estate agents Archer & Co, call the Monmouth branch on 01291 626262 for further details.
Newland Way: £220,000
For any buyer with a more modest budget there are houses to find in the town that can also offer unique selling points, and this three-bed semi can boast direct access via a garden gate to the fields beyond, and absorbing, expansive views across the Wye Valley to the hills on the horizon across the border.
And the layout of the home does all it can to drink in as much of its lovely location, with the kitchen wall removed to form a large living area – the lounge and diner spans the width of the house and could benefit from the addition of bi-fold doors to make the most of the indoor outdoor connection, if the budget and planning will allow.
And the kitchen can enjoy the views too, now that the wall no longer constrains it. As well as storage, a boot room and cloakroom, the house also offers three bedrooms, a bathroom and more storage on the first floor, and is on the market for £220,000 with Peter Alan, call their Monmouth branch on 01600 714355 to find out more.
Located on the north coast of Wales this coastal town is instantly recognisable for its long sandy North Shore Beach, the promenade that flanks it, and the 19th century pier.
The seafront is peppered with blocks of pretty period properties and a Ferris wheel at one end of the bay from which to admire them, along with the sweeping coastal and mountain views. The bay is overlooked by the distinctive rocky headland known as the Great Orme, which is one of the most expensive locations on the coast to buy a home in Wales.
Properties in Llandudno had an overall average price of £222,915 over the last year, 2% down on the previous year and 4% up on the 2019 peak of £215,218. The majority of sales in Llandudno during the last year were flats, selling for an average price of £133,615. Detached properties sold for an average of £378,283, with semi-detached properties fetching £253,952.
Llys Helyg Drive: £2.5m
A contemporary dream home that is guaranteed to turn heads and ignite envy, not just for the space that it offers inside but for its astounding location, Abbey Lodge is a three-storey, handsome home that can boast one of the most exclusive spots by the sea in Wales.
Nestled into the western slopes of the Great Orme on the north Wales coast, this beast of a building can be found on Llys Helyg Drive, known in the area as ‘millionaire’s row’, and can boast one of its top selling points as the sea at the bottom of the garden and astonishing, panoramic coast and sea views.
As well as the construction of the amazing deck at the end of the garden, the house was designed and built in 2011, and recently refurbished, to make the most of its exclusive location with windows in every corner to ensure the scenery is always on show.
Over three-storeys the home can offer a vast lounge that runs from the front of the property to the back taking in views all the way via its multiple windows. There’s a huge entrance hall, an outstanding and a substantial kitchen diner that has double access to the elevated garden terrace.
There are two master suites, both with a dressing room, ensuite and a balcony – one with a Juliet design and the other as a walk-out balcony. In total there are six bedrooms, five bathrooms and one remarkable location that is a rarity to find. The millionaire pad is on the market for £2.5m with Coast and Marina Properties, call them on 01492 580500 to find out more.
Carmen Sylva Road: £350,000
Space by the sea that can be a private home or a home and a business sounds like an attractive proposition for someone who wants to move to one of the happiest places in Wales, but it also sounds like it might be expensive.
This huge Edwardian semi-detached house can change your mind on that and although it might need an interior design change in some rooms to more suit a new owner’s personal taste, the beast of a building is currently run as a guest house offering up to 10 bedrooms.
And at the end of the road is the sea, the bay and the promenade, with the town centre easily accessible too, and wonderful views of the Great Orme and the Little Orme, which can be seen from various windows throughout this handsome home.
For sale for offers of £350,000 the house has three-storeys of accommodation plus a front and back garden and a very attractive front facade that comes complete with seaside palm tree. Call the Llandudno branch of Dafydd Hardy on 01492 884484 to find out more.
Marian Road: £185,000
Recently renovated and redesigned, this two-bed, end of terrace home offers contemporary style throughout so all a new owner has to do is turn up with the removal van and start living. And there’s plenty to do and see that’s easily accessible from the doorstep including shops, schools and transport links, as well as idyllic walks along West Shore, the promenade and the Great Orme.
The ground floor is a sociable open-plan space with a carpeted lounge area and laminate floor kitchen, although the main visual divider between the two zones is the kitchen island with the integrated breakfast bar. There’s a storage cupboard and a door to the rear garden to find before a climb upstairs reveals two double bedrooms and a bathroom.
The move-in ready home is for sale for offers in the region of £185,000 with Purplebricks, call them on 0800 810 8008 to find out more.
Next year’s Happy at Home Index might vary considerably between regions as the cost of living crisis increases its impact on the property market, which is already beginning to be seen in the results of this year’s study, carried out as the squeeze began, according to Rightmove.
The company states there are undoubted challenges facing both buyers and renters, but with first-time buyers still determined to get onto the ladder, and so cutting back on going out and using less gas and electricity to help them to still be able to save up for a deposit. And don’t miss the best dream homes in Wales, auction properties, renovation stories, and interiors – join the Amazing Welsh Homes newsletter , sent to your inbox twice a week.