St Ives: where is the nicest place to live in Britain, how much is the average house price, why is it popular?

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Locations are ranked based on factors including a sense of belonging, the proximity to green spaces and local amenities

St Ives has been crowned Britain’s happiest place to live in 2022 in an annual survey.

The picturesque Cornish seaside town overtook Hexham in Northumberland to take this year’s top spot in Rightmove’s survey.

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The two towns have alternated for first place since 2019, but this year Hexham was placed fourth as Galashiels in the Scottish borders came second and Woodbridge in Suffolk was ranked third.

More than 21,000 people responded to Rightmove’s ‘Happy at Home Index’ - a survey asking residents how they feel about where they live. Locations are ranked based on factors such as whether people feel there is a sense of belonging, the proximity to green spaces, local amenities and whether there is a community spirit.

Why is St Ives so popular? 

St Ives has been crowned Britain’s happiest place to live in 2022St Ives has been crowned Britain’s happiest place to live in 2022
St Ives has been crowned Britain’s happiest place to live in 2022 | Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

St Ives is located on the coast of the Celtic Sea, north of Penzance. The town is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the UK, and is renowned for the number of artists who flock there - among them include J.M.W Turner, Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo.

In 2010 and 2011, it was crowned the Best UK Seaside Town in the British Travel Awards.

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The residents of St Ives scored the area highly in Rightmove’s survey for its sense of community spirit, the sense of belonging the residents have and how comfortable residents feel to be themselves.

Paul Le Bas, sales business development manager at Millerson sales and letting agents in St Ives said: “The coastal walks are second to none. From Porthminster round to Clodgy the views are stunning as you look out over the turquoise seas.”

How much is the average house price in St Ives? 

The average asking price for a home in St Ives is £523,731, which is 6% higher than last year when it was £492,870. Across Britain, the average asking price is £366,999.

The typical house price in St Ives has increased significantly and inquiries to buy a home in Cornwall are 9% higher than in 2019, Rightmove found.

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What other cities are featured on the list?

Residents of second place Galashiels scored it particularly highly on the friendliness and politeness of the people - scoring top for this across Britain - Rightmove said.

Alice Brown, a valuer at estate agent Rettie & Co Borders, said: “Steeped in history, Galashiels has a wide variety of housing from classic period properties to new builds, offering something for every type of buyer.The countryside surrounding Galashiels also has much to offer, especially for those with an interest in rural pursuits such as walking, trail running, biking, wild swimming, et cetera.

“In terms of entertainment, a variety of amenities are on the doorstep, including a cinema, gyms, a swimming pool, supermarkets, independent shops, cafes, a retail park, restaurants and well-regarded schools. The recently-established Heartland Market brings together the town and local businesses.”

In Wales, Anglesey was found to be the happiest place to live. Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property science said: “This year’s Happy at Home survey really shows that the things that make people happy to live in their area are not so much the physical aspects of that area but more the personal aspects, such as our sense of belonging, the community and the people.

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“The last few months have undoubtedly been difficult for many, and as we learned during another difficult period in 2020, this is often when we look to our local area and community for support and happiness.”

Where are Britain’s happiest places to live?

Hover over the points to see where each place ranks in the list of happiest places to live in Britain. Average asking price for a home and average asking month rental price included.

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Listed below are Britain’s happiest places to live in 2022, in order, according to Rightmove, along with the average asking price for a home and the average asking monthly rental price:

1. St Ives, South West, £523,731, £1,152

2. Galashiels, Scotland, £153,546, £530

3. Woodbridge, East of England, £481,978, £1,196

4. Hexham, North East, £262,265, £810

5. Perth, Scotland, £179,410, £812

6. Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber, £381,124, £1,327

7. Anglesey, Wales, £324,048, £766

8. Bury St Edmunds, East of England, £334,160, £1,368

9. Stirling, Scotland, £197,075, £990

10. Cirencester, South West, £382,065, £1,331

11. Richmond-upon-Thames, London, £1,153,347, £3,931

12. Falmouth, South West, £373,752, £1,289

13. Monmouth, Wales, £331,844, £1,104

14. Leamington Spa, West Midlands, £383,553, £1,274

15. Worcester, West Midlands, £286,250, £1,059

16. Northwich, North West, £246,995, £942

17. Altrincham, North West, £615,246, £2,297

18. Macclesfield, North West, £292,078, £1,146

19. Newbury, South East, £380,842, £1,364

20. Llandudno, Wales, £260,245, £760

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