Where the majority of EU population live? flats or houses
House or flat: where do you live?
In 2015, 42% of the EU population lived in flats and 57% in houses. The share of persons living in flats was highest in Spain (66%), Latvia (65%) and Estonia (63%), and the share of people living in houses peaked in Ireland (93%), the United Kingdom (84%), Croatia (81%) and Belgium (77%); Norway also reported a high share of their population living in houses (81%).
Around seven out of every ten (69%) persons in the EU lived in a dwelling they owned, while 20% were tenants with a market price rent, and 11% tenants in reduced-rent or free accommodation.
Data extracted in February 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update: March 2018.
This article analyses recent statistics on housing conditions in the European Union (EU). The cost and quality of housing is key to living standards and well-being; shortage of adequate housing is a long-standing problem in most European countries. Over the past decade, worsening affordability, homelessness, social and housing polarisation and new forms of housing deprivation have been an increasing concern for public policy.
Main statistical findings
Type of dwelling and tenure status
In 2015, 42.0 % of the EU-28 population lived in flats and 57.4 % in houses. The share of persons living in flats was highest in Spain (65.9 %), Latvia (65.1 %) and Estonia (62.6 %). The share of people living in houses peaked in Ireland (92.5 %), the United Kingdom (84.4 %), Croatia (81.3 %) and Belgium (77.3 %); Norway also reported a high share of their population living in houses (81.1 %).
Over one quarter (26.9 %) of the EU-28 population lived in an owner-occupied home with mortgage or loan while almost half (42.5 %) of the population lived in an owner-occupied home with no outstanding mortgage or housing loan. As such, just slightly under seven out of every ten (69.4 %) persons in the EU-28 lived in owner-occupied dwellings, while 19.7 % were tenants with a market price rent, and 10.9 % tenants in reduced-rent or free accommodation.
More than half of the population in each EU Member State lived in owner-occupied dwellings in 2015; the share ranged from 51.8 % in Germany to 96.5 % in Romania. In Switzerland, people living in rented dwellings outweighed those living in owner-occupied dwellings (55.5 % of the population are tenants, 2014 data). In Sweden (63.4 %) and the Netherlands (60.1 %) more than half of the population lived in owner-occupied dwellings with mortgage or loan; this was also the case in Norway (61.9 %) and Iceland (62.8 %).
The share of persons living in rented dwellings with a market price rent in 2014 was less than 10.0 % in 11 EU Member States. In Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden more than one quarter of the population lived in rented dwellings with a market price rent; this share rose to almost half (49.2 %) in Switzerland. The share of the population living in a dwelling with a reduced price rent or occupying a dwelling free of charge was below 20.0 % in all EU Member States ( 10.9 % of the EU-28 population).
In 2015, 11.3 % of the EU-28 population lived in households that spent more than 40 % of their disposable income on housing. In Greece, Romania, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Bulgaria the housing cost overburden rate exceeded 14.0 %, while the lowest rates were reported by Cyprus (3.9 %) and Malta (1.1 %).
Between 2014 and 2015, the housing cost overburden rate in the EU-28 decreased by 0.2 percentage points (pp). In total, 6 EU Member States reported increases for 2015, as compared with 2014, ranging from + 0.1 pp in Slovakia and Italy, to + 2.0 pp in Lithuania. Iceland and Norway also reported an increase in respective housing cost overburden rates for 2015, as compared with the previous year. In the United Kingdom, the rates remained stable. On the other hand, the largest decreases were reported in Hungary (– 4.3 pp), Ireland (– 1.6 pp), Estonia and Latvia (both with – 1.5 pp).
Housing affordability varies between different groups in society. Overall, women were found to be more vulnerable to housing cost overburden than men in most EU Member States, with the exception of Estonia, Spain and Finland. This trend was especially evident in Germany and Bulgaria, where overburden rates were 3.5 pp higher for women than for men, as well as in the Czech Republic (2.9 pp), Lithuania (2.3 pp) and Belgium (1.9 pp).
No clear trend was apparent in terms of a person’s age with regard to housing affordability; at EU-28 level the percentage of people whose housing costs exceeded 40 % of their equivalised disposable income in 2015 was 10.7 % for people under the age of 18, 11.7 % for people aged 18–64 and 10.4 % for people aged 65 or over.
However, the same cannot be said for all EU Member States. In 12 EU Member States the elderly suffered more than the younger age groups with regard to housing cost affordability with the greatest differences in the housing cost overburden rate between the 18–64 age group and the elderly (65 or over) in Bulgaria, Germany and Lithuania (which reported differences of 11.9, 5.4 and 3.9 pp respectively). On the other hand, the largest difference for those EU Member States where the younger group (18–64) suffered more than the elderly (65 or over) were observed in Greece (9.3 pp) and Spain (7.5 pp).
The proportion of the population whose housing costs exceeded 40 % of their equivalised disposable income was higher for owners with a mortgage or loan than those owners that had no outstanding mortgage or housing loan, with the exceptions of Greece, Bulgaria, Sweden, Croatia, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia and Austria. The same exception applied for the Serbia. For tenants, higher overburden rates tended to apply to those tenants that pay their rent at the market price. The only exceptions here applied to Slovakia and Sweden; however data for Sweden should be treated with caution due to low reliability of the value for those renting at reduced price or free.
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