Home Ownership in Europe – A Pipe Dream For Many


Most people in Europe dream of owning their own home as they consider it a symbol of success and that it makes better financial sense than renting but 48% believe that it will never happen.
A new international survey that covers 13 European countries and the United States and Australia, found that overall the vast majority who own a home are happy with their housing situation, 78% in Europe and 69% in the US and 71% in Australia.

The research from ING also found that 60% of those who rent in Europe say they would like to own their home which rises to 70% for 18 to 34 year old, but 48% don’t believe they will be able to do so.

Some 65% of people in Europe said they want to own a home because they consider it a symbol of success and the report says that this reinforces the notion that buying a house is not just a financial decision but guided by social and cultural principles.

A breakdown of the figures show that 72% believe that home ownership is a status symbol in Poland, 70% in Turkey and Romania and 65% in the UK while 68% of European think buying a home makes financial sense, including 83% in Luxembourg and 71% in the UK.

Fewer people in countries with a bigger rental market such as Spain, Germany and France see it as a good financial move. Just 47% though it was financially better to buy a home than rent in Spain.

Some 66% of European thought that everyone would buy a home if they could afford to with higher shares agreeing on this point in most countries, including those with a strong renting culture such as Germany. Some 80% of people in Poland thought so, 79% in Turkey and 78% in Romania.

Overall 48% of people in Europe said they will probably never be able to afford to buy a home. A breakdown of the figures show this sentiment is higher in Australia at 62% while 56% say so in the UK and Germany.

When it comes to the rental market there is some sentiment that is has positives with 49% of people in Germany, 47% in Spain, 46% in the US saying that renting offers more flexibility. The survey also found that 31% of people in the US and 31% in Turkey believe life is much easier when renting.

People in Luxembourg, Belgium and Romania are least likely to agree that renting is easier. However, more than a third, across all countries, select ‘neither agree nor disagree’ when asked and the report suggests that while many people favour owning a home over renting, they also understand the full picture can be a complex one. There can be advantages and disadvantages, whether you rent or buy.

‘Most people want to buy a house. Their reasons for doing this extend well beyond money, such as security and the freedom to decorate it how they like. Yet many now accept that they are unlikely to buy,’ said Ian Bright, senior economist and managing director of Group Research at ING.

‘If you combine this with our findings that a higher proportion of home owners are happy with their housing situation, compared with renters, then it seems that more people will feel incredibly frustrated with their housing choices in the future. It is hardly surprising that many people in many countries think housing is on the wrong track,’ he added.

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