Housing Specification Blog

Does the state of your home affect your happiness?

July 31, 2012 Alexandra Blakeman Housing Issues

Where you live has one of the biggest impacts on your well-being. Click on image for original source.

Happiness is an emotion created by a number of complex factors.Fundamentally, a person’s wellbeing can be traced to their immediate environment; where they live, sleep and eat. Earlier this week the ONS published ‘Measuring the National Well-Being – Where We Live 2012’, which presents the housing conditions that affect our day to day happiness.

Housing tenure has a significant impact on the individual’s well-being and overall frame of mind. According to the study, those that own their home outright reported a much higher level of happiness than those that are paying off a mortgage or renting.

The following is taken from a recent article in the Guardian:

In a recent UK study, Searle, Smith and Cook found that “home buyers who choose, or are forced, to be pre-occupied with the financial returns on housing ‚Ķ cluster disproportionately towards the bottom of the well-being scale. Not only are they emotionally detached from the affective values of home, but they are nervous of leaning so heavily on the returns of a single investment.”

Initially the ONS’s ‘Measuring National Well-Being’ survey failed to take into account the impact of a person’s home and living environment. According to the ONS, the quality and affordability of housing were identified as gaps in the headline measures of national well-being during the recent consultation. The ‘Where we live’ survey was then carried out.

The survey shows that housing itself isn’t a standalone factor – the local area and its facilities also have a significant impact on a person’s frame of mind. Around 60% of people surveyed considered crime rates to be the most important indicator of an area’s ¬†reputation. The cleanliness of the area and its streets came in a close second.

If housing greatly impacts on a person’s happiness, how severely does homelessness affect an individual’s sense of self and security? Perhaps the omission of housing well-being in the ONS’s general survey on welfare indicates that we must work harder to discover the true impact of our surroundings on our psychological existence.

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