Économie et Statistique n° 343 - 2001 Unemployment Benefits and Returning to Work - Housing in the European Union - Children's Pocket Money - A New Breakdown of Public Expenditure
Housing in the European Union: Ownership Overtakes Renting
All the Europe of Fifteen countries now have a number of dwellings that can only house an average of two to three people under the same roof. However, their construction activities are highly uneven. In 1999, Ireland built over 12 dwellings for 1,000 inhabitants. France built over five and Sweden less than two. The buoyancy of construction seems to go hand in hand with the economic catching up of the less advanced countries, especially those in the South. The proportion of households who own their usual residence is also highly dispersed, varying from 30% to 80%. France is in a median position with 55% of homeowners in 1999. Housing is historically more rented in the North European industrialised countries, whereas ownership has always held an important place in Southern Europe. Yet ownership has now overtaken renting virtually everywhere. Its growth was the most spectacular in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. At the same time, the construction of low-rental public housing dipped in all the EU countries. Depending on the country, households spend 15% to 30% of their final consumption expenditure on current housing expenses (rent, energy and charges). Housing investment represents a roughly equivalent and slightly less dispersed proportion of total investment at 20% to 25%. All the Member States contribute to financing this expenditure, either in the form of direct investment assistance or by personally helping occupants with «housing benefits». This means-based rent assistance is now surpassing building subsidies everywhere.