Despite having the second poorest economy among member states in the EU, Romania registered in 2014 the highest home ownership rate in the EU, but also the most crowded dwellings, according to data released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
With 96.1 percent of its population owning a home, Romania comes above Slovakia (90.3 percent), Lithuania (89.9 percent), Croatia (89.7 percent) and Hungary (89.1 percent). The lowest rates were seen in Germany (52.5 percent) and Austria (57.2 percent), followed by Denmark (63.3 percent), the United Kingdom (64.8 percent) and France (65.1 percent).
In the European Union, more than half (59.3 percent) of the population were living in houses and 40.0 percent in flats in 2014. A majority of people in the EU were owners of their dwellings, with over two-thirds (70.1 percent) of the population living in owner-occupied dwellings, while 29.9 percent were renting their dwelling.
Our country followed the EU general trend, a majority of 62 percent of its population owning a house, while 38 percent lived in flats. Across the EU, the highest proportions of people owning a house were recorded in the United Kingdom (84.7 percent), Croatia (80.8 percent) and Belgium (77.6 percent). In contrast, flats were the main dwelling type notably in Spain (where 66.5 percent of the population were living in flats in 2014), Latvia (65.1 percent), Lithuania (58.4 percent) and Greece (56.9 percent).
Romania also tops the charts at overcrowded households, with 52.3 percent of its people lacking in space because of the size of the home. Hungary (44.6 percent), Poland (44.2 percent) and Bulgaria (43.3 percent) also registered high shares of the population living in overcrowded households, well above the 17.1 percent average at EU level.
When it comes to housing cost overburden, our country came in fifth with 14.9 percent of the population paying more than 40 percent of total disposable income for total housing costs. Greece had by farthest the highest share of people struggling with household costs (40.7 percent), followed by Germany (15.9 percent), Denmark (15.6 percent) and the Netherlands (15.4 percent). The EU level stood at 11.4 percent.
The residential sector has enjoyed a flourishing trajectory this year, with 11,000 housing units already completed in Bucharest and the surrounding areas and an estimate of 14,000 units to be delivered by yearend. The total stock of new homes, completed and up for sale, located in over 350 residential projects in Bucharest has a high degree of absorption (above 70 percent), as developers better adjust supply to the existing demand.
According to a Coldwell Banker study, the purchase of a new home is now three times more accessible than it was during the economic boom period, due to the decrease in the selling prices and the successive increases in the net average wage and also due to the successive decrease of the monetary policy interest operated by the National Bank which resulted in a cheapening of the mortgage loans in RON.