New data from Eurostat – the European Union’s statistics office – has revealed that 78% of Spaniards describe themselves as homeowners.
This puts Spain above the EU average of 70%, but is actually a slight contraction from the peak of 2007, when 81% of people in Spain owned their home…
Former communist countries lead the way for European home ownership rates, with 96.5% of Romanians and 90.5% of Croatians owning the home that they live in.
Analysts believe that this is largely indicative of the poor state of the rental market in these countries, pointing to Germany – which has a strongly regulated rental market – where the culture to rent is reflected in the figures: only 51.9% of Germans own the home they live in.
In Spain, there is a suggestion that the younger generation, particularly Millennials, no longer have such a strong desire to own property as the culture in which they have grown up – leased cars, rented mobile phones, even streamed music and TV from Spotify and Netflix – erodes the desire for ownership.
However, Spain’s slightly contracted home ownership rates are more a result of the financial hangover of the previous two recessions. Millennials were harder hit than all other age groups during these lean years, and thus lack the funds and confidence to properly pursue the idea of owning a home.
But even this anomaly is changing as data from the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) show that mortgage approvals have long been on the rise, with young Spaniards increasingly keen to get on to the property ladder.
Despite the greater upfront costs, owning a home in Spain is actually more cost-effective than renting. Eurostat data revealed that Spaniards who rent pay on average 23% more per month than those with an owner-occupier mortgage.