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Housing costs a challenge to many households

20/05/2020

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Housing costs are often the largest costs households have. When housing costs are high or increase, this may lead to other expenditure (possibly for other basic needs) being postponed or cancelled. 
 
Many households have experienced steep falls in their disposable income during the current coronavirus pandemic, due to e.g. unemployment, furlough, reduced working time or less clients or turnover. Housing costs are generally fixed in the short term, and will inevitably leave less for other costs when the household’s income falls. 
 
9.6% of the EU population spent 40% or more of their household income on housing 
 
Housing affordability may be analysed through the housing cost overburden rate, which shows the share of the population living in households that spend 40% or more of their disposable income on housing. 
 
The housing cost overburden rate for the EU was 9.6% in 2018. However, there were large differences between the different EU Member States. In 11 Member States, less than 6.0% of the population lived in households being overburdened by housing costs. It was particularly rare to experience such problems in Malta (only 1.7% of the population) and Cyprus (2.0%). 
 
In contrast, the housing cost overburden rate stood at 10% or more in Romania, Germany, Denmark and Bulgaria; the overburdening was most widespread in Greece, where 39.5% of the population lived in households spending more than 40% of the disposable income on housing. These differences may, at least partially, reflect differences in national policies for social housing or public subsidies and benefits provided for housing.  
 
Infographic: People living in households spending 40% or more of their income on housing, 2018
Source dataset: ilc_lvho07a
 
 
Note: The European Union (EU) includes 27 EU Member States. The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Further information is published here.
 
 
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