UK housing third least affordable in Europe

19 July 2012

A family outside their home

Families in the UK are among the worst off in Europe when it comes to housing costs.

One in six people in the UK (16.5%) are overburdened by housing costs, according to findings published by the European Union.

This means they are spending more than 40% of their income on costs such as rent, mortgage payments and other living costs associated with their home.

The UK has three times as many people weighed down by housing costs than nearest neighbours France, where only 5.2% report they are overburdened.

Housing in the UK is so unaffordable that out of 29 EU countries analysed, only Denmark and Greece reported being worse off, placing the UK third from bottom for affordable housing costs.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s Chief Executive said:

‘These figures are the evidence that the UK housing market is deeply dysfunctional'.

'With so many families spending huge amounts of their income on their rent or mortgage, people will be making daily trade-offs between food bills, filling the car tank with petrol, and paying their housing costs.

‘And this is not set to get better any time soon. While the situation is bleak at the moment, a succession of governments failing to provide much needed affordable homes means that the future facing our children and our children’s children is only set to get worse.

‘Housing is the largest monthly cost for most people, yet the affordability of housing is not getting the same attention as the monthly costs of other essentials such as food or fuel. We believe all political parties must recognise solving our housing crisis is as fundamental as health and education.’

Are you worried about your housing costs? Get advice from Shelter