Latest Housing and Rent Prices in the EU
The housing and rent market seems to be on an endless upward trend across the EU. According to Eurostat, housing and rent prices in the EU continued to grow in Q3 2022—up 2.1% and 7.4%, respectively—compared to Q3 2021.
• If we compare Q3 2022 with 2010, 19 EU countries saw housing prices rising more than rents: rents grew by +18%, while housing prices went up by +49%.
• Over the same period, housing prices rose in 24 EU countries and dropped in three EU countries. The prices more than doubled in Estonia (+199%), Hungary (+174%), Luxembourg (+140%), Lithuania (+137%), Latvia (+134%), the Czech Republic (+133%), and Austria (+130%) and dropped in Greece (-22%), Italy (-9%), and Cyprus (-0.3%)
• Over the same period, rents increased in 26 EU countries and decreased in one EU country, with the largest boost in Estonia (+233%) and Lithuania (+151%). Greece saw price drops (-24%).
• In general rent prices in the EU have been steadily going up since 2010, while housing prices began to rise only in Q1 2015.
In a nutshell
• The number of homeowners and renters varies greatly across the EU. In the former socialist countries, the homeownership rate is 90% or more, while this rate is lower in the western and northern countries. The big exceptions are the German-speaking countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Denmark, where renting is as common or almost as common as owning your home. For that reason, rising housing prices are completely different things, for example, in Romania or Germany.
• In all cases, it’s true that becoming a homeowner is getting harder. In this respect, the eastern countries are still in a better position, as you can more easily become an owner by inheriting the property. But the western and northern countries have higher debt levels (according to the ECB) and lower interest rates, which means that people there are more likely to buy more on better terms, including lending.
• Those who can’t or don’t want to take out loans have to rent housing. Of course, apart from those who—by their choice—rent rather than buy. The data shows that rent growth has lagged far behind housing price growth. In Ireland, Hungary, Lithuania, and Estonia, rents have risen significantly in six years (by about 30%), but monthly disposable income has increased more, making housing more affordable on average, despite price growth. But even this point doesn’t mean that things are getting better: one can often find the opinion that the monthly rent is a long-term rate to follow the sharp rise in prices in recent years, i.e., it’s just a matter of time.
Well, the statistics are debatable, but the housing crisis isn’t fading away in most European cities. It’s doing its job, and things are getting even worse in some cases: the supply is limited, while prices keep growing, as does the rent. I must say large-scale infrastructure projects are coming in Europe in the future: from the railway, such as the Fehmarn Belt that will connect Germany and Denmark, to water projects, such as Canal Seine-Nord Europe that will connect France and Northern Europe. These facilities will shortly open up long-term logistical opportunities for both investors and developers. Particularly as the decarbonization plans encourage the creation of sustainable networks.