Home, the cost of housing: a “green” issue

Italy prefers home ownership in apartments and the challenge of sustainability is distant

Living in the European Union is not the same for all member countries. To prove it is Housing in Europe, the report created starting from Eurostat data by the European Commission, according to which, regarding the ‘Cost of housing’, lifestyle habits and type of construction, citizens’ style of living in their homes is changing. The publication, in fact, provides data on the size and quality of homes and the environmental impact they have, from 2010 to today.

For example, in the EU in 2022 69% of the population lived in an owned household, while the remaining 31% rented accommodation. But there are countries where buying or renting habits can be very different. Romania, Slovakia, Croatia and Hungary have a very high rate of people buying a house (above 90%). In a country like Germany, however, the data changes significantly. Renting is much more widespread than ownership, with 53% of the population living in a home that is not their own. Followed by Austria with 49% and Denmark with 40%.

This photograph highlights how citizens’ choices change in the Member States also based on costs of living when compared to those of the houses and homes in which you decide to live, alone or with your family.

In Italy, being able to buy your own home is one of the life goals of many young people who hope to be able to find a balance, in the shortest possible time, between home, work, expenses and family. Although Italian percentages show that people prefer to live in owned homes rather than rented homes, it is not always clear that reality conforms to people’s hopes and expectations. This is why, to reach that over 90% of the countries mentioned above in which ownership beats other forms of leasing, there should be a differentiated approach to state welfare which would allow buying and selling in a more facilitated way.

Italy in a condominium

From our data on the subject it emerged that Italians prefer apartments over single houses. But it is on environmental costs that the data focuses a significant figure: significantly higher than in most other EU countries, with the exception of those few countries where homes still pollute too much, Italy continues to produce greenhouse gases without particular decreasing trends.

A portion of greenhouse gas emissions comes from households burning fossil fuels to heat their homes, prepare hot water, cook and use air conditioning. This represented a greenhouse gas production of 733 kilos per capita in the EU in 2021, down from 914 kilos in 2010. In 2021, the highest values ​​were observed in Luxembourg (1 636 kilos per capita), Ireland (1 347) and Belgium (1 400). The lowest value was found in Sweden (26), followed by Portugal (150) and Malta (168).

With the directive “Green homes” the European Union intends to reduce harmful emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieve zero emissions by 2050, through the redevelopment of the European building stock and the improvement of energy efficiency. From this point of view, Italy is still behind if we consider that many homes do not have an “energy census” and therefore lack an ‘Energy Performance Certificate’. According to Enea data, around 86% of residential buildings are in the D and lower energy classes and around 60% are even in the two worst classes, F and G.

The increase in prices

On average in the EU in 2022, 19.9% ​​of disposable income was allocated to housing costs.

House prices increased by 47% in the EU between 2010 and 2022. Since 2013, specifically, a constant upward trend has been observed, with significant increases after 2015. The only two decreases concerned the Italy with -9% and Cyprus, -5%. While in countries such as Estonia, Hungary and Luxembourg, houses increased by +192%, +172% and +135% respectively.

Rents, however, are no different and have increased by 18%. An increase was recorded in all Member States except Greece (-25%). The largest increases were recorded in Estonia (+210%), Lithuania (+144%) and Ireland (+84%). In Cyprus the increase was only +0.2%.

Housing costs compared to the EU average differ significantly between Member States. The highest housing costs in 2022 compared to average were found in Ireland (112% above the EU average), Luxembourg (87% above) and Denmark (82% above). The lowest values, however, were observed in Bulgaria (63% below the EU average) and Poland (60% below).

Looking at the evolution between 2010 and 2022, house price levels compared to the EU average increased in 17 Member States and decreased in 10. The largest increases were observed in Ireland (from 17% to 112% above above the EU average) and in Slovakia. (from 44% to 3% below the EU average) and the largest decreases occurred in Greece (from 8% to 30% below the EU average) and Cyprus (from 8% to 23% below ).

Producer prices for new housing construction in the EU also increased in the period from 2010 to 2022 – especially from 2016, and especially significantly from 2021 to 2022. The increase over the entire period was 40%. Among Member States, the largest increases were observed in Hungary (+124%), Bulgaria (+103%) and Romania (+97%). Greece was the only member state to record a decrease (-1%).

Housing cost overhead is highest in cities

With the’increase in house prices and rents, the cost of housing can become a burden. This can be measured by the housing cost overburden rate, which shows the percentage of the population living in a household where total housing costs represent more than 40% of disposable income. In the EU in 2022, 10.6% of the urban population lived in such a household, while the corresponding rate for rural areas was 6.6%. The highest housing cost overburden rates in cities were observed in Greece (27.3%) and Denmark (22.5%), while the lowest in Slovakia (2.3%) and Croatia (2.6%). ). In rural areas the highest values ​​were recorded in Greece (24.2%) and Bulgaria (18.1%) and the lowest in Malta (0.2%) and Cyprus (0.5%).

Housing cost overload was higher in cities than in rural areas in 20 Member States and lower in seven. The extremes of this difference were Denmark (13.5 percentage points, with 22.5% in cities and 9 .0% in rural areas) and Bulgaria (-5.4 percentage points, with 12.7% and 18.1%).

But it is now known that living in cities was more expensive than in rural areas. Despite this, our country is dealing with the phenomenon of depopulation of areas that are considered rural when compared to the main Italian metropolises and which live on a population mostly made up of elderly people who, unlike young people, have chosen to “resist” and stay.