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Online House Hunter: England’s happiest cities

Alan Cleaver
bristol 300x193 Online House Hunter: Englands happiest cities

Bristol: Joint first in a survey of happy city dwellers

IT’S hard to equate the survey results showing Mancunians are the unhappiest people in England with the current success of both United and City football clubs.

However, while the football fans in Manchester at least enjoy their football it seems the survey by Shelter and Places for People has revealed some of the key factors that affect city dwellers.

Bristol and Leeds achieved joint first in the satisfaction rating followed by Newcastle, Sheffield and Bradford. The factors being measured included the perceived quality of their home, whether people could afford the rent or mortgage payments, how safe they felt in the neighbourhood and whether the house was big enough to meet the needs of their families.

The survey highlights once again how important good housing can be towards your overall ‘happiness index’ in life. Finding the right home can put a spring in your step each morning. But end up buying the wrong type of home in the wrong place and your stress levels can go off the scale.

Interestingly, the survey showed that council tenants were slightly happier than private renters. Living conditions it seems are better with the council as a landlord – perhaps because controls over social housing are tougher than on private landlords.

More space outside was seen as one of the biggest ways the happiness index could be increased. Perhaps decades of building on back gardens in city centres has finally taken its toll.

Deciding to live in a city will always be a question of balancing advantages with disadvantages. The easier access to shops, employment or facilities such as hospitals against noise, traffic and pollution. But the survey does at least highlight for those considering a move to the city some essential points for your checklist:

* How safe is the community – the police.uk website will help you find crime stats.
* What’s the condition of the house – Victorian or older homes give cities their character but they can be the ‘wrong shape’ for modern living.
* And repairs were also found to be key in the survey. How much repair work does your period home need and how costly is it to maintain?
* What about future improvements? Check with your local council about limitations created by living in a listed house or conservation area. If you’re renting, how much will you be able to change your ‘home’?
* Make sure your home is big enough for your current needs and for any family you hope to have in the future.

Cities offer a rich choice of types of housing to buy or to rent which should mean that, with careful study, you can find a home to suit your needs and balance any downsides to city living.

TOP TEN CITIES:

1 Bristol and Leeds

3 Newcastle

4 Sheffield

5 Bradford

6 Birmingham

7 London

8 Manchester

9 Leicester

10 Liverpool

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