Housing costs squeezing Greeks

Nearly three quarters of tenants in Greece spend over 40% of their monthly income on rent

Housing costs squeezing Greeks

The share of people in Greece who are overburdened with housing costs is 32.4%, compared to 21.9% in Denmark and 15.3% in the Netherlands, according to the latest Eurostat survey for 2021.

These rates concern people who live in urban areas and are forced to spend more than 40% of their disposable income on payments toward the property in which they live. These costs concern rent, utilities, heating and water supply. They also concern owners, for whom any charge from servicing a mortgage loan is calculated. Furthermore, Greece is first in terms of the corresponding burden in rural areas, where the percentage spending more than 40% of their disposable income on housing needs is 22%, compared to 13.3% in Bulgaria and 10.8% in Romania.

The corresponding figure in the relevant 2020 survey was slightly higher at 33.3%, while the EU average did not exceed 7.8%. In 2021, this increased to 10.4% of the population.

The picture is certainly even worse among those who rent. According to the data, 74.2% of tenants in Greece spend more than 40% of their income on their housing needs. The positive thing is that the relative percentage has been decreasing in recent years, as in 2020 it was 79.2% and in 2014, when the crisis and economic recession had peaked, it reached 87.5%.

Among owners who service a mortgage loan, the relative percentage of the population reaches 18.5% from 19.9% in 2020 and 31.5% in 2015. The difference observed between those who rent and those who service a mortgage, lies in that, as a rule, borrowers have a higher income than renters.

Of course, the financial hardship for many households also translates into corresponding delays in debt repayment. According to Eurostat, in 2021, 36.4% of the population in Greece was in arrears in servicing their debts, either for rent or utility bills, or for their mortgage payment.

Given that in 2022 the energy crisis sent household costs soaring, a significant increase in the above percentages is expected in the next Eurostat survey. 

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