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Housing Cost Overburden Rate in the EU

When data tells the story

Brussels, 28 October 2015 | Social, The future of the EU & Housing

Click here to enlarge a dynamic version of the graph

"Data Stories" is the new column on our blog, curated by the Housing Europe Observatory. Infographics tell the stories that shape the housing sector in Europe.

In 2013 housing costs represented on average 22.2% of disposable income for the total population, and about 41% for those at risk of poverty. The relatively highest housing costs are to be found in Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic and Sweden. In Austria the share is below EU average for the total population but higher than EU average for those with an income below 60% of the national median equivalized income. 

Eurostat also monitors the share of the population spending over 40% of disposable income on housing costs, those that are considered ‘overburdened’ by housing costs.   At its meeting on 9 March 2015, the Council of the European Union (EPSCO) endorsed the key messages of the latest Annual report of the Social Protection Committee on the social situation in the European Union. The report identifies increasing housing cost overburden rate as a ‘social trend to watch’.

In 2013 the overburden rate for the EU 28 was 11%, and 37.4% among the population with an income below 60% of the national median income. The highest rates of housing overburden are to be found in the same countries that have the highest share of housing costs.

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The Observatory "Snapshot"

Looking at the phenomenon of housing overburden over time, it is not easy to identify common trends. Yet looking at Eurostat data we can see quite clearly that the rate of overburden has increased significantly in a number of countries between 2005 and 2013, namely Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Luxemburg, Finland and Belgium.

Greece is the most striking example: here the share of people who are spending too much on housing compared to their income is not only the highest in the EU, it is also where it has been increasing the most – showing clearly the dramatic impact of the financial and economic crisis. The overburden rate increased from 22.7% in 2005 to 36,9% in 2013.

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