Not everyone is benefiting from the European Union’s recorded renewed growth and Cyprus is no exception, according to the recently-released Fourth Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe 2019.
The report shows that, between 2007 and 2017, in a large number of countries the entire population has been affected by increased arrears, and poor households more significantly. Cyprus’ ranking is remarkably high.
Specifically, 3% of the total European population and 8% of poor households were in arrears on their rent or their mortgage in 2017. The proportion of poor households in mortgage arrears is particularly high in Greece (21%), France (17%), Ireland and Cyprus (12%).
In addition, the countries where the least expenditure proportionally is spent on housing are Malta (10.1%), Lithuania (14.8%) and Cyprus (15.4%).
In 2017, the proportion of poor households overburdened by housing costs (i.e. spending more than 40% of their disposable income on housing) rose to 38%, showing an upward trend compared to 2010 (+0.8 points) while the proportion of non-poor households overburdened by housing costs fell in the same period (-0.7 points).
Over the last ten years, the number of homeless people has increased at an alarming rate in almost all European Union countries, as well. Broadly speaking, this increase has led to the explosion in the number of people needing emergency accommodation.
Migrants make up a significant proportion of the homeless population in several EU Member States. They often live in housing that is overcrowded or lacks basic facilities. There is no common legislation at EU level that establishes minimum standards regarding access to accommodation and the level of access can thus differ substantially from one country to another and even from one region to another.
Severe housing deprivation involves housing that is not just overcrowded but is also unfit, either because it is damp, lacks basic sanitary facilities, or is considered too dark. This problem affects Eastern European countries at a greater rate.
While the scale of the problem is generally on a downward trend in the EU-28 (-30% on average between 2007 and 2017, among the general population), a significant increase of the problem was observed in countries such as Denmark (+59%), Belgium and Sweden (+108%).
Among poor households, severe housing deprivation has also worsened particularly in Slovakia (reaching 21% in 2017), Austria (11% in 2017), Denmark (10% in 2017), Belgium (8% in 2017), Sweden (7% in 2017), Germany (5% in 2017), Malta (5% in 2017), the Netherlands (4% in 2017), Cyprus (4% in 2017) and Finland (2% in 2017).
The likelihood of experiencing housing deprivation is higher in countries where income inequality is high.