Stories | September 1, 2016

Crowded out by high house prices? Survey pictures lives on hold

Nearly half of people in Europe are forced to compromise on housing, with price, location and population pressures key concerns.

Most people across Europe are happy with their homes – but a third have seen important life decisions delayed due to their housing situation. That’s a key finding from the ING International Survey – Homes and Mortgages 2016.

ING’s fifth annual homes and mortgages survey asked nearly 15,000 people in 15 countries – including the USA and Australia – about their housing situation and its effect on their lives. We find that 46% of people in Europe in 2016 have compromised on their choice of home.

Common trade-offs include settling for a smaller house, moving to an area they don’t like as much, or – worryingly – accepting a house in poor condition. In many countries, location and population pressures are seen as key factors in this situation.

33% indicate important life decisions have been affected by their housing situation

Worse still, 33% indicate important life decisions have been affected as a result of their housing situation. Twenty-nine percent of those whose life decisions have been affected say they cannot afford to live alone – rising to a high of 43% in the Czech Republic, while 22% say they cannot change their job – with the largest share in Poland (28%).

Sixteen percent have delayed having children – rising to a high of 24% in Turkey. Slightly smaller shares say they are forced to live with their parents, cannot retire, have delayed getting married, or cannot afford to move in with their partner.

Happy despite high prices?
Sixty percent of people in Europe say house prices where they live are expensive, and in 11 of 15 countries, more than half of the people surveyed say they expect prices to go on rising in 2016.

So it’s no surprise that 50% of people in Europe say house prices are forcing them to stay in their current house. The share prevented from moving elsewhere rises to a high of 73% in Romania, and falls as low as 37% in Germany.

When housing is costly, more people may be forced to compromise in their quest for a suitable home for themselves and their families. Sixty-nine percent of people in Europe in 2016, however, say they are happy with their housing situation, including many who have had to make compromises on housing.

But we also find that people who own their home are more likely to be happy than those who do not. Among owners, 77% say they are happy, compared to 57% of non-owners.

Is your life on hold because of housing issues in your area? Email or tweet @eZonomics with your views.

eZonomics team
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This article is related to the ING International Survey:

Homes and Mortgages 2016

Homes and Mortgages 2016

September 1, 2016

ING’s fifth annual survey on homes and mortgages asked people across Europe, the United States and Australia for their views on housing affordability, how people meet their housing needs and how happy they are with...