Europe is a continent of homeowners. Across the EU, roughly 70% of the population live in owner-occupied households. Obviously, there is a great deal of variety between Member States, with a higher proportion of renters in countries such as Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands. However, the “typical” European lives in a home owned by either them or their family.

Yet the picture may be changing. Young Europeans, in particular, are struggling to get onto the housing ladder, and some analysts talk of a “generational gap” starting to emerge. In many big European cities, young people are being priced out of the market, while the rising cost of rents mean they are unable to save for a deposit.

What do our readers think? According to James, the main barrier to young people getting on the housing ladder is that in areas where there are good jobs housing is expensive and in areas where housing is affordable there are no jobs. This means that young people are forced to choose between a meaningful career or buying a house. Is he right? Why are young people struggling to get on the housing ladder?

To get a response, we spoke to Jack Airey, Head of Housing at the British think-tank Policy Exchange. What would he say?

To get another perspective, we also spoke to Anna Ludwinek from Eurofound (the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions). How would she respond?

Finally, we had a comment from Alexandra blaming the housing crisis on immigration. Is that too simplistic?

Will young people ever get on the property ladder? Why are young people struggling to afford houses? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

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29 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Young people nowerdays have more possibilities and more chances then any generation before…

    • avatar

      Really? .LOL

  2. avatar

    It’s very possible. Progressively tax properties. It’s not normal to have companies own 10.000 apartments in certain cities to exploit renters. Only 1 unit per person or couple and no companies as owners!!

  3. avatar

    No problem. Let’s import a few million people, give them free homes, and those young Europeans can stay at their mamas. After all, their carbon footprint will be lower there.

  4. avatar

    Why is so important to own a House or appartament when you are young? Why don,t the governaments control the renting? Should we remember Hitller, Mussolini or Franco and their housing progrms?

  5. avatar

    In Countries like Germany, I guess it will be worse. Young people need to be more flexible, to follow the work, it is not like 30years ago, that you went after school to a company and stay there until pension. On the other hand, all the people who offer nowadays smth thru internet, thry can stay and work wherever they want but there is no stability in the income, so not the Best option for a house credit.

  6. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    More “universally” put:

    How common is the saying in the EU: ”a young person without debt will be an old person without assets”?

    Such fundamental life choices are available for everybody sensible & smart enough to adopt- while others fear risk and therefore ignore or reject. That mirrors the kaleidoscope of us diverse humans!

    Probably, a philosophy the traditional communists & sorts will never understand or risk, since they always need governments to do their bidding for them!

    What does it really mean to have an “entrepreneurial spirit”, understand risk & reward and grab opportunities?

  7. avatar

    The answer, I think, is that they won’t until authorities will stop limiting house construction and won’t keep an eye on renters and speculators instead.

  8. avatar

    After their parents die. But unfortunately they live longer now than they used to.

  9. avatar

    No. If Companies pay less and demand more, if the houses are expensive and heavily taxed, if raising kids is even harder due the lack of support of extended family and jobs income.. how new generation own ? They wont, they even will say they dont wanna own. At this pace, property will only, for banks and goverments.

  10. avatar

    My grandma and grandpa were lucky – Soviet Union gave them a flat with the city light view on the top floor of the building for free. My parents were lucky as they managed to work and earn enough to save and build. I’m lucky too as I own Primark umbrella on the case it’s cold and raining outside 😄👍 Come on guys, not everything is about the money 😄

  11. avatar

    The problem is: Socialism to fight Great Corporations isnt the way. Capitalism must reinvent himself.

  12. avatar

    Neoliberalism. The prices of everything are rising far more than income. Thank you, Mr. Reagan.

  13. avatar

    Here we go. Its in constitution a person man own a home or land., property. If its not so it means we are livingi n communism. The prices were on purpose rised than young people wouldn’t be able to own there own home. But globalist future vision nobody will own property.. People will live like in Japan in some 1 square meter box home. 😃

    • avatar

      People in Japan own homes you cheap Facebook demagogue. 😛

  14. avatar

    it is hard because investment in housing has turned into the new gold. It is so bad that properties are actively trading between investors and between investors and banks. The inhabitants are not a peer in the chain, they are not even an opportunity since the loans needed to pay for the property would most likely transfer to the next owner. The market slowly but surely turns into a closed loop that acts like a bank- multiplies money, and not as product- provides function. I that regards, I do believe that a proper taxing should be introduced in order to slow the market down.

  15. avatar

    bc they’re too lazy to work hard

  16. avatar

    Maybe let’s end the housing market and treat it as the human right it actually is?

    • avatar

      i support this!

  17. avatar

    Because just as in other areas of anything that can be sold (commonly called a market) there is a huge fraud going on causing prices to inflate. There are “investors” who own a significant part of the properties and keep the prices basically unreachable for people with an average income. This situation is enforced by the fact, that the prices are exponentially higher in areas where people may earn more (like capitals of countries) abusing the higher demand and still keeping regular people away from owning their own property. But along with all the negative sides of COVID there is a good side. With the fall of demand the market is crashing, which is really good for those, who are not abusing the system but just want to own their own property.

    • avatar

      since Covid property prices and rents in Salzburg, Austria have gone up by 20%

    • avatar

      yes. Because people are moving back to their home locations from bigger cities, like Vienna in case of Austria. In Budapest the prices dropped for around the same 20%, but I hope they will drop even more, as they have risen for like 70-100% in the last 5 years.

  18. avatar

    Because of expectation? I was talking to a younger worker in our company who said they couldn’t afford a house. I said there are loads of terraces that are reasonable. His reply, I’m not living in some crappy terrace old house I want to buy a new one. They have been given everything by their baby boomer parents and now they have unreasonable expectations. When I first moved out we bought second hand and stuff was given to us that family didn’t need, you made do and built up over time. Young ones today seem to want everything now and it has to be ultra trendy etc. Probably partly to do with the go to uni and you will get paid loads myth

    • avatar

      You’re right, but you can’t just blame the young people when the new homes are the elderly. They could very nicely buy old houses, properties or ruins and remake them. Everything is from my point of view.

  19. avatar

    Yeah. Really weird that people won’t want to get indebted for a house on the basis of the 2-years working contract they have.

  20. avatar

    With current salaries it takes 30- 40 years to pay for the house the time house is paid off you are dead..

  21. avatar

    Low income and salaries, pessimistic expectations wrt employment and the economy in general and high prices. Thats it.

    • avatar

      It’s really so simple, even an economist could understand it. 😜

    • avatar

      Yes. Altough I’m an econometrician.

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