BUSINESS

Housing costs take big bite out of income

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Economy

Greek households spent a total of 26.78 billion euros on covering home-related expenses last year, a figure which amounts to 14.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to data released on Tuesday by Eurostat. This concerns expenditure on rent, maintenance, cleaning, utility bills and central heating.

The above accounted for 20.6 percent of Greek households’ total spending last year, coming in above that on food (16.6 percent) and hotel accommodation and catering (14.8 percent).

There was a 2.7-percentage point increase in spending on housing compared to 2005, when it accounted for 17.9 percent of household expenditure.

A similar trend is emerging around the rest of the European Union too, where spending on housing amounts to 25 percent of household expenditure on average. This is about 2 trillion euros or 13.4 percent of the EU’s GDP. In Cyprus it only accounts for 16.6 percent of total spending.

Meanwhile a survey by the European Federation of National Organizations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) to gauge EU citizens’ living conditions and ability to pay for property maintenance and cover their basic housing needs, which used Eurostat data from 2014, showed Greek households to be in the worst position.

About 41 percent of the Greek population (against just 11.5 percent in the EU) is struggling with their finances and spends more than 40 percent of their total income on covering expenses related to their home. This includes property taxes, utility bills, rent, mortgage costs, central heating and maintenance.

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