THE PEOPLE of Leamington would appear to have more reason to smile than anyone else in the country.
The town has been named the happiest place to live in Great Britain in Rightmove’s 2017 Happy at Home Index.
More than 17,000 people across Britain took part in the online property website’s study which asked residents how happy they were where they lived, and also asked them to rank 12 happiness factors – from how friendly the neighbours were to how good the local services were.
Leamington scored highly for friendly neighbours, a strong sense of belonging, a place where locals felt they can be themselves, and good access to nature and green spaces.
Town mayor Caroline Evetts said: “It is a tribute to the town’s community spirit that has lead Royal Leamington Spa to be voted the happiest place to live in the Great Britain.
“Royal Leamington Spa has it all, from our wonderful Regency buildings, impressive parks and gardens as well as a unique mix of high street shops and independent boutiques.
“Leamington people are welcoming with an impressive cultural community diversity that adds to the whole happy attitude that has no doubt put the town as the happiest place to live in Great Britain.”
The average asking price of a home in Leamington is just under £331,000, which is almost £20,000 higher than a year ago. The national average asking price is currently £310,000.
Clive Thompson, office manager at Leamington estate agent EhB Residential, said: “Leamington Spa continues to remain a highly desirable and popular place to live and it seems all residents would agree.
“Many people are choosing to move to Leamington, as it offers great access to the towns around, and excellent commuting using the road and rail network to some of the larger towns and city’s surrounding, with the train station offering good access to both Birmingham and London.
“Local employment remains strong, with Jaguar Landrover continuing to expand, and other large names in the area including Aston Martin, National Grid, Tata, Warwick University and the computer games industry having chosen Leamington as a base.
“We simply see lots of buyers move to the area and stay. Having found a town which offers many cultural and leisure facilities with easy access to and from you can see why many are proud to call Leamington Spa home.”
Last year Leigh-On-Sea was named the happiest place to live, and this year it took the runner-up spot, followed in third by the Wirral near Liverpool.
The rest of the top ten was made up by Harrogate, Tunbridge Wells, King’s Lynn, Epsom, Richmond upon Thames, Poole and Chichester.
Dumfries came out on top in Scotland and Llandrindod Wells took the honours in Wales.
Rightmove’s research manager Abiola Oni said: “We’ve looked at the connection between each of the factors and what contributes to how happy people say they are overall, and it’s the people in an area and how someone feels about living there that makes the biggest difference.
“So the strength of community spirit, people feeling like they belong and that they can be themselves are all more important than the services and money that they have, though these do still contribute to overall happiness.”