High house prices and low happiness make Northampton among worst places to live survey finds

House prices are among the factors in people's happiness and wellbeing
House prices are among the factors in people's happiness and wellbeing

A survey measuring happiness against house prices has ranked Northampton as one of the worst places to live in the UK in terms of value for money.

The study devised by the Telegraph newspaper and estate agents Hampton International was published this week and rated districts around the UK in a bid to find places combining the cheapest homes and the happiest residents.

Its figures were drawn from house price-to-income ratios and the Life Satisfaction Index from the Office of National Statistics, (ONS) and it featured an interactive map grading the areas with the happiness to affordability ratings in a light yellow - and the worst in a dark red.

Northampton - along with several urban areas - was ranked among the worst.

Residential director for Hampton International Fionnuala Earley, said: “The trouble is urban areas tend to have high house prices and lower than average ratings of happiness.

“In terms of satisfaction, the amenities people like to have on their doorstep aren’t as common. In Scotland, in the Outer Hebrides for example the wonderful sea views rank highly in people’s life index score.”

The study found the average price of a two-bedroom house in Northampton was £127, 000, while its Life Satisfaction Index rating came out as 7.3 out of ten.

In comparison the survey found the best place to live in the UK was Allerdale in the Lake District, which had an average two bedroom house price of just £90,0000 and a happiness rating of 7.8 out of ten.

However, in stark contrast to its county town, much of the west, south and north of Northamptonshire ranked among the best places to live in the UK, with areas such as Brackley, Towcester and Daventry rated among the best places to live in the UK.

The woman in charge of Northamptonshire County Council’s “Learn 2B” mental health courses said it is no surprise countryside areas have fared better in Northamptonshire as fresh air and exercise plays an important factor in staying happy.

With countryside areas easily winning out in the Telegraph and Hampton’s poll of the best places to live, curriculum leader of Learn 2B Sue Bennett added the majority of the 600 people enrolled on its courses are from the Northampton area.

She said: “It can be demoralising living in county centres. It is cramped and you often see a lot of boarded up buildings and closed down shops. Whereas in places like Daventry you are never that far a walk away from some green spaces. There are green spaces in Northampton, but people maybe need to be more motivated than they would in a rural area to visit them.”