Albanians: Second Highest Homeownership Rate in Europe, Yet Space Remains a Challenge

 In a recent analysis of data from Eurostat, it becomes evident that Albanians exhibit a high level of homeownership, making them the second-largest homeowners in Europe after Macedonians. However, despite this, a notable issue arises: the lack of space within these properties.

Graph of the percentage of people living in owned or rented homes (2022), source: Eurostat, 2018
 Graph of the percentage of people living in owned or rented homes (2022), source: Eurostat, 2018
In 2021, 94.8% of Albanians were reported to live in their own homes, with the remaining portion opting for rental accommodations. This figure is significantly higher than the European average, where an average of 70% own their homes. In Europe, only North Macedonia (96.3%) surpasses Albania by a small margin in terms of homeownership rates, as Monitor reports.

However, despite being homeowners, many Albanian families face space constraints, with individuals often lacking even a single room at their disposal. The average number of rooms per individual is 0.9, the lowest in Europe alongside Montenegro, compared to the EU average of 1.6. This scarcity of space is juxtaposed with the fact that neighboring North Macedonia boasts an average of one room per individual.

Housing in Europe: Comparing Ownership and Rental Norms

Switzerland and Germany have high rental rates, with over half of their populations opting for rented accommodations. Conversely, Balkan countries exhibit higher rates of homeownership, although many properties are overcrowded.

Housing affordability is a growing concern across Europe, characterized by housing shortages and rising rents. Approximately 70% of the EU population own their homes, while the remaining 30% rent. Around 17% of the EU population lives in overcrowded housing conditions.

Housing landscapes across Europe vary considerably, with a significant divide between homeowners and renters. In eight out of 36 European countries, over 90% of the population lived in their own homes in 2022, according to Eurostat data.

Over Half of the Population Rents in Germany and Switzerland

In Germany, the percentage of renters exceeded 50% in 2022, making it the only country among EU members with such a high rate. Switzerland, based on data from the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the United Kingdom, and candidate countries, had the highest percentage of renters at 57.7%.

Homeownership Rates Are Highest in Balkan Countries

North Macedonia, Albania, and Romania boast homeownership rates of over 95%. With the exception of Turkey, homeownership rates were highest in the Balkans, a trend extending to Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro.

In contrast, countries such as Austria, Turkey, Denmark, France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom fall below the EU average for homeownership, at 69.1%.

Spain and Italy had the highest rates, with three out of every four residents living in their own homes.

Public Policies and Social Housing Rentals

European countries have implemented various policy measures to ensure affordable housing. These include housing subsidies, social housing rentals, and rent regulations.

On average, social housing accounts for 8% of the total housing stock in the EU, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on affordable housing. This refers to rental housing offered at prices lower than market rates, allocated according to specific rules rather than market mechanisms.

The Netherlands, Austria, and Denmark have the largest shares of social housing, accounting for more than 20% of their total housing stock.

The United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Iceland, and Finland have moderate social housing sectors, ranging from 10% to 19%.

The sector is relatively small in Switzerland (8%) and Germany (2.7%), where over half of the population are renters.

Do You Have Adequate Rooms in Your Home?

Housing quality is critical. The OECD emphasizes that overcrowded homes, where many family members live in limited space, negatively impact health, especially for children. The average number of rooms per person in the EU was 1.6 in 2022, ranging from 2.3 rooms in Malta to 1.1 rooms in Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.

The average number of rooms per person was lowest in the EU candidate countries in the Balkans, correlating with higher overcrowding rates. Despite high homeownership levels in the Balkans, overcrowding remains a problem in these regions.

At least half of the populations in Montenegro, Albania, and Serbia live in overcrowded homes. Overcrowding rates were 16.8% in the EU.

Among EU countries, the highest overcrowding rates were observed in Latvia (41.7%), Romania (40.5%), and Bulgaria (36.2%), while the lowest rates were in Cyprus (2.2%), Malta (2.8%), and the Netherlands (2.9%).
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