Poland leads homeownership in Europe

The UK is often thought to be a nation of homeowners, in contrast to Europe’s rent-friendly populations. New research, though, reveals that Poland is the country with the highest level of homeownership on the continent.

The research, which uses EU statistics compared by Credit Foncier, shows that 84 per cent of households in Poland own property, the highest in Europe. This is followed by 79 per cent in Spain and 73 per cent in Italy. Germany is the lowest, with 53 per cent of households owning property. The report also analysed housing in France, the Netherlands and Portugal – in total, the equivalent to three quarters of the EU population.

Across them all, an average of 70 per cent of households own property, with Europeans mostly living in houses (60 per cent).

Spaniards are the most numerous in Europe to live in apartments (67 per cent) in spite of a low density (91 inhabitants / km²). Conversely, the Netherlands, with a very high density (405 inhabitants / km²), account for 80 per cent of houses.

France is the country with the shortest typical mortgage length: 19 years, compared to loans lasting 25 years and more dominating the market in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the UK. In France, mortgage rates are also the lowest, at 2 per cent in 2015, below 2 per cent in Germany, 2.1 per cent in France, 2.6 per cent in the UK and 3.6 per cent in Poland.

The weight of housing expenditure in disposable income is much lower in the countries of southern Europe (17.1 per cent for Italy, 18.3 per cent for France) than in, for example, Germany (27.3 per cent) or the Netherlands (29.4 per cent). As a result, in southern Europe, households are globally less indebted by their property purchases, to the tune of €38,433 in Spain, €32,540 in Portugal and €19,216 in Italy.