Home ownership over EU average, but deprivation rate high

A little more than 86% of Hungarians own the homes they live in, well over the European Union average of 69.4%, according to the latest data compiled by Eurostat, the EUʼs statistics office. However, Hungary scores high in measures for the rates of overcrowding and housing deprivation among the poor.

In 2015, 26.9% of the EU-28 population lived in an owner-occupied home for which there was an outstanding loan or mortgage, while more than 42.5% of the population lived in an owner-occupied home without a loan or mortgage. As a result, a total of 69.4% of persons in the EU-28 lived in owner-occupied dwellings, while 19.7% were tenants with a market price rent, and 10.9% were tenants in reduced-rent or free accommodation, says Eurostat.

In addition to Hungary in the CEE region, the home ownership rate is above the EU average in the Czech Republic (78%), Poland (83%), Slovakia (90%) and Romania (top of the list in the EU, at 96.5%).

About 19% of homeowners in Hungary still have an outstanding mortgage on their dwelling. A little more than two-thirds of the 14% of Hungarians who are tenants pay reduced rent or live in their dwelling for free, the Eurostat data show.

Eurostat notes that one of the key dimensions in assessing the quality of housing is the availability of sufficient space. The overcrowding rate describes the proportion of people living in an overcrowded dwelling, as defined by the number of rooms available to the household, the household’s size, as well as its members’ ages and their family situation.

Within the population at risk of poverty (people living in households where disposable income per person was below 60% of the national median), the overcrowding rate in the EU-28 was 29.5% in 2015, some 12.8 percentage points above the rate for the whole population. The highest overcrowding rates among the population at risk of poverty were registered in Turkey (72.9%, 2013 data), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (68.1%), Serbia (63.6%), Hungary (62.0%), Romania (61.7%), Poland (59.7%) and Slovakia (57.6%).

In addition to overcrowding, other aspects of housing deprivation – such as the lack of a bath or toilet, a leaking roof in the dwelling, or a dwelling considered too dark – are taken into account to build a more complete indicator of housing quality, the Eurostat report adds. The severe housing deprivation rate is defined as the proportion of persons living in a dwelling which is considered  overcrowded, while also having at least one of the aforementioned housing deprivation measures.

Across the EU-28 as a whole, 4.9% of the population suffered from severe housing deprivation in 2015. There were four EU Member States where more than 1 in 10 of the population faced severe housing deprivation in 2015: Bulgaria (11.4%), Hungary and Latvia (both 15.5%), and Romania (19.8%), the Eurostat report reveals.

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