Housing crises have increased in frequency in recent years across Europe, hitting countries with diverse economic health. Portugal, Turkey, and even affluent Luxembourg are battling the problem of providing their residents with inexpensive and accessible housing.
The homeownership rate among young people in Portugal has decreased by 50% over the course of two generations.
Just over 25% of people born after 1997 have been able to achieve homeownership by the age of 25, compared to 55% of people born between 1977 and 1986.
The real estate crisis that caused an 8.7% increase in house prices over the previous ten years can be blamed for this fall.
Despite Portugal’s relatively high homeownership rate of 70%, it’s primarily driven by older generations, leaving the younger population struggling to afford homes.
Citizens are calling for the government to implement measures such as financial assistance for first-time buyers, the construction of more affordable housing, and building up derelict areas.
Turkey’s renting woes:
Rent hikes in Turkey have become so steep in the past year that they have led to violence between landlords and tenants, with the media reporting 11 deaths and 46 injuries.
Rents have soared by an average of 121% over the past year, and in big cities such as Ankara and Istanbul, they have surged by as much as 188 %.
This is due to many factors, including a cost-of-living crisis, high inflation, and an influx of displaced people from the devastating earthquake that struck the country in February.
The government has capped property rent increases at 25% for households, and aligned them with the official inflation rate for businesses.
However, experts say the measures have only heightened tensions, prompting many landlords to use any means – including illegal ones – to evict tenants and find new ones ready to pay higher prices.
Around 47,000 eviction trials and 100,000 others concerning illegal rent increases opened in the first six months of this year, more than double in the same period of 2022, according to Turkish media.
Even wealthy Luxembourg faces housing strife:
Luxembourg’s residents may be classified as the wealthiest in the European Union, but the sky-high cost of buying or renting a home in the country has made living there nearly impossible for some.
Pascale Zaourou, a teacher and mother of three children, had to wait five years before being able to access coveted social housing.
“On the private market, renting an apartment with two rooms costs at least €2,000 – it’s difficult with only one income,” she told journalists at a recent demonstration in Luxembourg City.
“Affordable housing is scarce, especially for young people and single-parent families,” she said.
Antoine Paccoud, a researcher at the Housing Observatory, which compiles data guiding government policy, backed up that sentiment.
“More and more Luxembourgers are crossing the border to live in Germany, Belgium or France just because rents and property prices are lower,” he said.
In the capital city, new-build flats sell for €13,000 per square meter and older ones go for €10,700. The average cost of a house is €1.5 million.
Rents increased by 6.7% between June 2022 and June 2023, much faster than the inflation rate of 3.4% over that period.
The housing crisis has become the top issue in the upcoming legislative elections in Luxembourg. Both major political parties have pledged to take action to address the issue.