Policies to Ensure Access to Affordable Housing - report

In many developed countries, housing affordability has become a focal point of discussions about housing policy as rental costs/house prices have increased relative to household incomes and the affordability situation and housing conditions have deteriorated.

The study, co-prepared with experts from PPMI, analyses the current situation and key challenges with regard to housing affordability in the EU, as well as policies to ensure access to affordable housing at national and EU levels. After assessing the key trends, the authors also provide recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders on improving the affordability of housing.


Key facts from the report:

  1. There is no official, legal or statutory definition of the term 'affordable housing' or 'housing affordability' that is universally accepted by the Member States
  2. Between 2010 and 2018, the average housing cost overburden rate (the proportion of the population spending more than 40% of their disposable income on housing) in the EU-27 countries remained stable but showed substantial differences between the EU Member States.
  3. The position in terms of housing affordability has been deteriorating particularly among low-income owners and private renters.
  4. In 2018, almost 38% of households at risk of poverty spent more than 40% of their disposable income on housing, compared to 10.2% of the general population in the EU.
  5. Over the last decade, homelessness rates have increased in a number of EU countries due to reasons including rising housing costs and inadequate policies.
  6. One of the key factors behind the rising housing costs and decreasing affordability of housing in Europe is the so-called financialisation of housing (the transformation of housing into a financial asset or a commodity).
  7. The recent rise of collaborative economy platforms for short-term accommodation (e.g. Airbnb, HomeAway) is another factor negatively impacting access to affordable housing because it reduces the supply of housing available to local residents and pushes up prices. It also contributes to the gentrification of some (especially central) city areas.

The full study is available here. The document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL).

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