Outrageous housing prices, the high cost of renting and so called "patho-development" constitute the reality we have to live in. The young generation is entering adulthood with the fear of not being able to fulfil the basic need of having their own roof over their heads.
The pandemic crisis, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, high inflation, and high interest rates have made owning a flat almost a luxury. For a young person who is starting their adult life, the issue of not having their own roof over their head is something that keeps them up at night every day.
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Eurostat data shows that between 2010 and 2023, the cost of renting a flat increased by 20% and flat prices increased by 46% across the European Union. Estonia's housing prices have increased the most. In this Baltic country, the cost of renting increased by 212% and the price of housing increased by 200% between 2010 and 2023.
Housing market. Difficult situation of young Europeans
We asked Polish Zoomers about the difficult situation in the housing market. They revealed a depressing reality in which fulfilling such a basic need as owning one’s own flat is often impossible.
"Generation Z in Poland has no choice but to live in rented flats. The rent is terribly high, but only few people can afford to buy a flat on their own. Unless you have help from your parents or a partner, buying a decent flat that is not a 20-square-metre cell is a pipe-dream," says Maja.
"The real estate market in Poland is complicated for Generation Z. Rental costs are rising at a staggering rate year after year. There are not enough flats, which means that almost half of Poles aged 18-34 live with their parents. Buying your own flat is a joke, as few people can afford it," states Jakub.
"When it comes to the housing situation, the young generation in Poland is crying out for help. People earning an average salary can only afford to rent. Property developers are flooding the market with micro-apartments. The perspective of owning one's own flat is becoming more and more distant every year," declares Weronika.
Owning your own flat? Unattainable for young Europeans
The difficult situation on the housing market does not only concern Poland. Vbox7.com's findings show that in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, property prices are prohibitive for a young person. Many live with their parents or rent a flat. Those lucky enough to be able to afford to buy their own flat make no secret of the fact that they would not have done so without the support of their parents.
Housing prices in Bulgaria are rising, making the dream of buying their own home unattainable for many in the near future.
"Many young people want to buy a flat in order to rent it to someone later. This means that many houses will remain empty in the future as Bulgaria's population declines," states an interviewee quoted by Vbox7.com.
Pathologies in the real estate market
The housing market is also challenging for young Lithuanian citizens. A survey conducted by the DELFI.lt portal shows that 75% of the website's readers consider studying at a university a privilege for the rich. This is due to the challenging living conditions in a big city. Since the beginning of 2023, rental prices have increased by 20% in Vilnius and by around 13% in Kaunas, the second largest city in the country.
"Sometimes we pay the bills accumulated over several months, because we had agreed that the landlord pays everything and sends us the whole amount later. They usually want to receive the money within a few days, and the cost of living in such a flat are really expensive, so we sometimes have to give up something to pay the bills, especially in cold seasons," says Austeja as quoted by the DELFI.lt.
In an interview with the Lithuanian website, Austeja admits that things keep breaking down in the flat she rents with her friend. Despite this, she does not intend to move because rental prices are so high that she cannot afford a different flat.
In conclusion, young people in Central and Eastern Europe are filled with pessimism when they think about the prospect of owning their own flat. Struggling with the pathologies of the real estate market destroys them emotionally and financially. This problem needs to be addressed and solutions worked out as a priority in pan-European discussions.