Owning a property could be the key to happiness, with homeowners reporting a greater sense of wellbeing than renters.
Those who own a property, either outright or with a mortgage, have higher levels of life satisfaction than people renting, regardless of tenure.
Social housing tenants were slightly more likely to be dissatisfied with their lives than those who rented in the private sector, although they were also more likely to be unemployed and in poor health, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, said: “We’re a nation of aspirational homeowners and so it’s no surprise that those that have managed to reach the life mile marker of owning their own home will feel more satisfied with themselves, compared to those that remain resigned to a rental market plagued by issues of affordability.
“However, with employment levels at record highs and those listed as employed leading the way when it comes to homeownership, we should hopefully see more and more tenants make the jump to homeowner over the coming years and enjoy an uplift in life satisfaction when they do.”
What makes people happiest?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people’s health had the biggest impact on happiness, with people reporting to be in good or very good health also having the highest levels of life satisfaction.
Age also had an impact, with younger people reporting high levels of life satisfaction, with happiness falling in middle age but rising again in people’s later years.
What role does money play?
Money plays a significant role in people’s level of life satisfaction, but not necessarily in the way you might think.
For example, having a higher level of household spending was more strongly related to feeling happy than having a high income.
The way people spent their money also appeared to have an impact, with those spending a higher share of their cash on experiences, such as nights in hotels and eating in restaurants, more likely to feel very satisfied with their life than those who spent more on food, insurance and mobile phone subscriptions, even if their overall level of spending was the same.
In terms of economic activity, perhaps unsurprisingly, people who were retired were happiest, while those who were unemployed or could not work due to sickness or disability were the least satisfied.
People’s economic status now has less of an impact on how happy they are compared with when the same research was carried out six years ago.
What about love?
Being married or in a civil partnership led to the highest levels of happiness, with those who were separated most likely to report feeling dissatisfied with their life, followed by those who were widowed.
People who were single were slightly more likely to be unhappy than those who were divorced.
Those with dependent children were also likely to feel happier about their lives than those who did not have children at home.
Marital status now plays a bigger role in how happy people feel compared with six years ago.
It also has a greater impact on their sense of satisfaction than their economic status.
Top 3 takeaways
People who own a property, either outright or with a mortgage, have higher levels of life satisfaction than people renting, regardless of tenure
Social housing tenants are slightly more likely to be dissatisfied with their lives than those who rented in the private sector
Overall, people’s health, marital status and economic activity had the highest impact on how positively they felt about their life