Retirement is a big part of life for us all and it should offer the opportunity to enjoy your golden years to the fullest. More retirees are relocating in their later years – with a surge of demand for retirement homes across the UK over the last 12 months.
New research from Lottie has analysed several lifestyle factors crucial later in life (popularity, affordability, investment prospects, air pollution and crime rates) to reveal the happiest retirement locations across the UK: with Wiltshire being crowned in 1st place, Buckinghamshire in close 2nd, and Dorset coming in 3rd place.
Nick Jones, Head of Retirement Living at Lottie, shares: “Basing our insights on a number of key lifestyle factors, we’ve ranked the happiness levels of retirement locations across the UK.
Our research has found that several locations in the South West appear in our list of the top 7 happiest places to retire in the UK – including Wiltshire – which has been crowned the happiest retirement location in 2022.
We’ve also found Buckinghamshire offers the best investment prospects for retirement relocation, whilst Manchester is the most affordable retirement location in the UK. Our data has also revealed Nottinghamshire is an up-and-coming retirement location – increasing in popularity with retirees in recent years.
From safety and security to wellbeing and affordability, there are lots of factors that determine the perfect retirement location – and this is different for us all. For example, locations popular with retiree’s offer great opportunities to socialise and build friendships later in life.
Affordable locations can help make it easier to live comfortably on a fixed income, whilst good investment prospects can help your pension pot to go further – as we face a rising cost of living. Researching the air pollution of an area can help determine how beneficial a new location may be for your overall health and low crime rates offer a sense of safety and security.
Our new research shows that locations offering a balance of affordability, community spirit and security are the happiest places to retire in the UK in 2022.”
Here are the top 7 happiest locations to retire in the UK, according to Lottie’s new research:
Lottie’s research has revealed Wiltshire is the happiest place to retire in the UK, with an overall score of 27.
Not only does Wiltshire offer beautiful countryside, outdoor adventures and historic towns and cities filled with quaint cafes and tearooms – Google searches for ‘retirement homes in Wiltshire’ have surged by 150% over the last 12 months.
It’s no surprise demand for retirement living in Wiltshire has increased in popularity. When it comes to investment, affordability, and overall wellbeing (air pollution and crime rate) scores, Wiltshire is a great investment for your retirement.
Famous for open countryside, historic houses and landscaped gardens, Buckinghamshire, is the second happiest place to retire in the UK – with a score of 26.
Based on our analysis, retirement homes in Buckinghamshire offer one of the best retirement living investment scores across the UK. As well as seeing the highest increase in popularity over the last
year, more people than ever before are Googling ‘retirement homes in Buckinghamshire’. They’re in huge demand – with searches rising by 200% over the last 12 months.
The third happiest location to retire in the UK is Dorset, a county in the South-west of England.
Dorset boasts some of the UK’s most beautiful coasts and is home to the infamous Jurassic coast. With plenty of outdoor activities to try, Dorset makes the perfect retirement location for outdoor lovers and thrill seekers.
Dorset scored well in each wellbeing factor – with low crime rates and air pollution, safety, and security – showing it’s the ideal place to unwind in later life.
Somerset is in fourth place for the happiest place to retire in the UK. From sandy beaches, open countryside, woodland and bustling towns and cities – there are lots of surprises to be discovered in Somerset during retirement.
Our research has revealed Somerset has been a great location for investment and affordability in the last year, with house prices increasing by over 10% in Somerset in the last 12 months.
5: West Midlands
In fifth place for the happiest place to retire in the UK is the West Midlands.
The West Midlands has one of the most diverse cultures in the UK, filled with lots of heritage, countryside, and cities to enjoy a range of leisure activities. From shopping, luxury dining, exploring the outdoors and waterways of the UK – there’s plenty to do in the West Midlands.
With affordable house prices and a strong wellbeing score it’s no surprise that the West Midlands has been placed in the top 7 happiest places to retire in the UK.
Known for its industrial past, famous football teams and musical heritage, Manchester is the sixth happiest place to retire in the UK. Manchester has the perfect mix of a bustling city centre, leafy suburbs and near both the Peak District and Lake District – making it a great location to enjoy your golden years.
Our new data has revealed that Manchester has the highest retirement affordability score in the top 7 and is increasing in popularity as a location for later living – with Google searches for ‘retirement homes in Manchester’ increasing by 29% over the last year.
Finally, Nottinghamshire is the seventh happiest place to retire in the UK. Home to scenic countryside, iconic landmarks such as Sherwood Forest and quaint villages – there’s plenty going on in Nottinghamshire.
Retirement living in Nottinghamshire has surged in popularity over the last year – with Google searches for ‘retirement homes in Nottinghamshire’ increasing by 200%.
Similarly, Nottinghamshire has been a great location for retirement investment in the past year, with house prices increasing by 12% since April 2021.
Relocating in retirement – The 5 biggest mistakes retirees make when choosing their new home, according to Nick Jones:
“Choosing where to retire is a huge decision – so it’s crucial to plan ahead and do your research, so you can avoid making any costly mistakes,” shares Nick Jones.
“With life expectancy increasing and the cost-of-living crisis, it’s more important than ever to avoid costly pitfalls in your retirement. We’ve compiled a list of the biggest mistakes to avoid when relocating in later life – so you can avoid any expensive errors and move to a home that’s perfect for your unique lifestyle goals”.
1. Forgetting to consider all relocation costs
A costly mistake many people make when moving to their dream location in retirement is forgetting to factor in all relocation costs to their budget. Whilst the location you’re planning to retire in may be affordable, the cost to move there may not be – especially if you’re moving across the country.
To avoid being caught out by expensive retirement relocation costs, plan ahead and include any relocation expenses in your retirement budget. This can also help you to decide on the best retirement location for your wellbeing and budget early on in your retirement planning.
Many retirement providers offer help with the cost of relocation in retirement – if you’re planning to move into a retirement home, speak to your provider to find out how they can support you with your move.
2. Deciding on your retirement location too quickly
Whilst a quick search on the internet may convince you you’ve found the perfect retirement location or home, it’s important to spend some time exploring your potential new area before deciding to relocate.
It’s a great idea to plan a few trips to visit your chosen area: you can explore the neighbourhood, see what activities are nearby, how close it is to transport links, and whether there’s any hotels close-by for your family to visit. Some retirement homes also have guest suites – so it’s worth asking if you’re considering moving into a new community or village.
Similarly, speaking to current residents in the retirement village you’re considering moving to and getting to know the staff working there can help you to find out more information about what it’s like to live there.
Taking the time to get to know a new place will not only help you decide whether it’s a good fit, but it will also help you pick exactly where in that new town or city you might like to live.
3. Failing to research all your retirement options
Another mistake to avoid when relocating in retirement is not assessing all of your options. From downsizing, renting, to retirement villages and communities – there are plenty of options to explore.
Take the time to consider how you’d like to spend your retirement, and most importantly, where you want to be in your later years. Many retirement homes offer independent living in safe, social and comfortable environments.
Retirement looks different for us all. Whilst there’s no one way to plan for your golden years, it’s important to take the time to explore all your options.
4. Choosing a location far away from support networks
You should also consider the distance of your new home from family, friends, and support networks – staying connected is an important wellbeing factor later in life. Whilst there are lots of transport links across the country, as you age your health and finances may not allow for the same ease of travel as now.
Discuss with your loved ones your main motivations for your relocation. Together, you may be able to find the perfect location that meets all your needs and allows you to stay connected to those closest to you.
5. Basing your decision on price rather than location lifestyle
Contrast to picking a retirement location without factoring the total cost. Another costly mistake made when relocating in retirement is basing your final decision solely on the affordability of a location.
Retirement should offer you the opportunity to enjoy your golden years to the fullest. Whilst you may be on a fixed income, it’s important to maintain hobbies and activities that are important to you. This will help to keep you happy, fit, and healthy throughout your older years.
You might enjoy spending time outdoors or a morning coffee at your local cafe. Start by making a list of your lifestyle must-haves and then spend some time making sure the places on your list of possible locations can meet those requirements. Whilst retirement should be affordable it should also be enjoyable.
Lottie sought to find which UK cities and regions are the happiest place to retire, based on several factors crucial to wellbeing later in life. Firstly, wellbeing data was gathered from a number of sources. Each location was evaluated based on the following criteria:
1. Popularity (based on internal analysis of Google search data), the YoY percentage increase in searches for ‘retirement homes in XXXX’ to reveal the locations across the UK that have increased in popularity
2. Investment and affordability, house price increase YoY for each location across the UK was analysed (based on Data from the Land Registry). Locations with a higher percentage increase in house price were given a higher investment score. Whilst locations with a lower percentage increase in house price were given a higher affordability score.
3. Air Pollution – the rate at which each area was over the legal air pollution limit was calculated (using ONS data: Air Pollution in the UK: 2020)
4. Crime rate – the crime rate for each location was calculated and compared (using data from crimerate.co.uk)
Each location was given a score for the 5 criteria explained above, to give a total score out of 35. Locations were then ranked from happiest to least happiest, to reveal the 7 happiest retirement locations in the UK.