A recent Edinburgh People Survey (EPS) listed the areas in and around Edinburgh where people were most satisfied with living in their neighbourhood. The survey got us wondering: is there a link between general happiness and house prices?
Popular philosopher and author, Alain de Botton, in his book, ‘The Architecture of Happiness’, states that, “We depend on our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them. We look to our buildings to hold us, like a kind of psychological mould, to a helpful vision of ourselves.”
If that is the case, the recent ESP survey suggests that different areas around Edinburgh provide varying levels of satisfaction as a psychological mould to their inhabitants. The level of contentment with their local neighbourhood, as a percentage of people who were content with it, was as follows:
1. Meadows/Morningside – 98%
2. Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart – 98%
3. Southside/Newington – 96%
4. Almond – 94%
5. Leith Walk – 94%
6. Corstorphine/Murrayfield – 93%
7. Colinton/Fairmilehead – 92%
8. City Centre – 91%
9. Leith – 90%
10. Pentland Hills – 89%
11. Portobello/Craigmillar – 89%
12. Inverleith – 88%
13. Craigentinny/Duddingston – 82%
14. Drumbrae/Gyle – 82%
15. Liberton/Gilmerton – 81%
16. Sighthill/Gorgie – 80%
17. Forth – 80%
The overall satisfaction rating of residents in the Meadows/Morningside area was 98%. By contrast, the satisfaction rating of those living in the Forth and Sighthill/Gorgie areas was just 80%.
So is there a link between people’s contentment with where they live and house prices?
The average house price in the Meadows/Morningside area currently stands at £370,584. By contrast, the average property price in Sighthill and Gorgie is £116,838.
With the average property types and values being very different when comparing these areas, we looked at property price growth in these areas.
Property prices in the Meadows/Morningside area rose by £33,536 when comparing January to March 2017 with the same period the previous year . By contrast, property prices in Sighthill and Gorgie rose by £7,175. This represents a price increase of 9.9% in the Meadows and Morningside versus a price increase of 6.5% in Sighthill and Gorgie.
House prices are only one aspect of how happy and satisfied people feel with living in an area. However, it does seem that, in areas where house prices are highest and where price rises have placed a larger amount of money in the pockets of the people living in those areas, they are perhaps not unsurprisingly more content than their counterparts.
A study published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2015 took a look at the link between wealth and well-being and showed that Britons’ life satisfaction, sense of worth and happiness increased with household wealth. The study showed that the size of assets such as bank accounts, shares and children’s savings were most strongly related to personal well-being. Interestingly, however, the study concluded that there was no significant link between net property wealth and well-being.
A separate study by Anita Ratcliffe on behalf of the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO), published in 2010, stated that:
“…there is a positive relationship between house prices and well-being. What’s more, this is true for non-homeowners as well as homeowners, suggesting that house prices matter because they reflect something else that is relevant to well-being, such as economic circumstances.”
What is clear is that people’s socio-political circumstances as well as the growth of the wider economy have an effect on people that goes far beyond the ‘psychological mould’ provided for us by the buildings simply that we inhabit.
If you are selling your home or investment property in 2017, please do get in touch with us by calling 0131 202 5444 (Option 1) or by emailing [email protected] to organise a free valuation of your home or to get a full, transparent breakdown of the costs of selling your home. Our expert Valuation Department can help you with suggestions to maximise the appeal of your home to buyers and get the best possible price if you are selling.