A new study by Online Mortgage Advisor has revealed that India has five of the top 20 happiest cities in the world to buy a home. The study also revealed that Mumbai is the least happy city to buy a home in the world, while Surat was at the fifth spot in the same list. Online Mortgage Advisor, a UK-based mortgage broker matching service, came up with the list of the happiest places to buy a home after scraping through thousands of geo-tagged Instagram posts and then analysing the happiness levels in the faces in the photos.
Using the above described methodology, the study found that the happiest city in the world to buy a home is Barcelona in Spain, followed by Florence in Italy, and Ulsan in South Korea in the second and third places. Barcelona’s homebuyer photos scored an average happiness score of 95.4 out of a possible 100, which was 15.6 percent higher than than the global average happiness level of homebuyers. The happiest city in India to buy a home was Chandigarh, which came fifth in the global listing. The other Indian cities to feature in the top 20 places were Jaipur in tenth place, Chennai in the 13th place, and Indore and Lucknow in the 17th and 20th place respectively.
The study also concluded that Mumbai was the least happy city in the world to buy a home. The average happiness score for Mumbai was 68.4 out of 100. This was 17.1 percent lower than the global homebuyer average. Atlanta in the United States and Sydney in Australia came in the second and third place in the list of the least happy cities in the world to buy a home. The only other city from India apart from Mumbai on the list of least happy city in the world was Surat in fifth place.
How happiness was measured
The study was conducted in August 2021 by sorting through thousands of geo-tagged Instagram posts from all over the world. The faces in these posts were then studied to find out how the happiness levels of an average Instagram user compared to those who have recently bought a home. When asked if consent was taken from the owners of the Instagram posts, a representative of the company said, “While permission wasn’t obtained, the data is completely anonymous and the only identifiable data points were the geotags of the photos rather than the people or the photos themselves.”
Two sets of photos were collected for the study – those posted with the hashtag #selfie and others was posted with the hashtags like #newhomeowner. The team behind the study scanned both the set of photos using the Microsoft Azure facial recognition tool. The tool analysed each of the photos and provided a score for each emotion displayed in the face based on prevalence – the highest scoring emotion indicating the most dominant emotion present. Cities were only incldued in the list if at least 100 AI-detectable photos were geo-tagged there.
From the analysis, the team concluded that people who bought new homes recently are considerably happier than the average Instagram user who posted a selfie. Happiness was the dominant emotion in just over a third (35 percent) of the #selfies posts that they analysed. But when this number was compared to the happiness detected on the faces of recent homebuyers, the number rose to 83 percent.