The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of decent living and housing. With restrictive measures and quarantine, citizens of EU countries remained in their homes for long periods of time, worked remotely, and children attended much of the school year from home. As the importance of housing in cases such as the pandemic increases, it is interesting to consider what share of household disposable income is spent on home-related expenses.
The map above shows the share of equivalent family disposable income spent on home-related expenses according to the latest available Eurostat data. The average for all 27 EU countries is 20%, and for the Eurozone member states it is 20.2%. Greece is the country where households bear the greatest burden for housing costs (36.6%), followed by Denmark (27.1%), Germany (25.9%), Switzerland (25.6%) and Bulgaria (24.8%). On the other hand, EU countries where households incur low household costs are Malta (8.2%), Cyprus (11.3%), Hungary (13.5%), and Estonia (14.2%).
Public policy needs to protect households from high home-related expenses, particularly in Greece. This need is reinforced by the fact that the level of property prices and rents remained on an upward trajectory during the pandemic, while energy prices in Greece were recently increased. Moreover, the rise in rents may become a permanent trend, as it is linked to the rise in short-term rentals which displace people from neighborhoods of touristic interest.