ECONOMY

Housing costs absorb 50 percent of Greeks’ disposable incomes

housing-costs-absorb-50-percent-of-greeks-disposable-incomes

The cost of housing in Greece ranks among the highest in Europe, as on average, 50 percent of households’ disposable income goes toward rent or mortgage installments, utility and heating bills, and other expenses such as home maintenance. This is another illustration of how expensive it has become to own a property in Greece while disposable incomes keep shrinking.

Those are the conclusions to be drawn from a European survey conducted by global real estate network RE/MAX on living conditions and the cost of living. It showed that the cost of housing in Greece is 10 percent higher than the European average, which amounts to some 40 percent of households’ disposable incomes.

Other countries with similarly high housing costs are the Netherlands and Spain, while countries such as Switzerland and France, and even neighboring Turkey have average rates of 30 to 32 percent.

Interestingly, while tenants in Greece pay the same monthly share of their disposable income as owners, across the rest of the continent tenants generally pay more than owners, as rental rates tend to be much higher than in this country.

In Greece, 37 percent of respondents said the cost of living is high (compared with Switzerland’s 66 percent and Finland’s 62 percent), and one in four expects it to grow further even though salaries and incomes in general have shrunk dramatically. However, there is a clear split between city and countryside dwellers, as only 19 percent of those living in cities expect the cost to grow, compared with 33 percent of those living in the countryside.

The RE/MAX survey also showed that Greeks move three to five times in their lifetime, about 70 percent live in property that they own, they continue to prefer living in cities than the countryside, and despite the crisis they view the cost of living as relatively high. About one in every five people lives in their parents’ home, and just 8.8 percent say they live alone, against an average of 15 percent in the rest of Europe. The majority (56 percent) live with their partner, while a very small share of people live with friends or other relatives.