Over a third of Irish households are owner-occupiers without mortgages compared with 27% in the UK, 8% in Sweden and the Netherlands; 56% in Italy; 47% in Spain and 82% in Bulgaria, according to data published Monday by Eurostat, the EU statistics office — the poorer the country the higher the ratio. Data for Ireland is from 2013 and for 26 other members of the EU28 it is from 2014.


In Ireland at 35.5% there were more households without a mortgage than the percentage with loans which was at 34.4%. Tenants comprise 30.1% compared with 47.5% in Germany and 35.2% in the UK.

In 2014, 4 out of every 10 persons in the EU28 lived in flats, just over one quarter (25.6%) in semi-detached houses and just over one third (33.7%) in detached houses (see Figure 1). The proportion of people living in flats was highest, among the EU member states, in Spain (66.5%), Latvia (65.1%) and Estonia (63.8%; 2013 data), while the highest proportions of people living in semi-detached houses were reported in the Netherlands (61.2%), the United Kingdom (60.0%) and Ireland (58.3%; 2013 data). The share of people living in detached houses peaked in Croatia (72.6%), Slovenia (65.4%) and Hungary (63.0%); Norway (62.4%) and Serbia (60.5%; 2013 data) also reported high shares of their populations living in detached houses.

In 2014, over one quarter (27.1%) of the EU-28 population lived in an owner-occupied home for which there was an outstanding loan or mortgage, while more than two fifths (43.0%) of the population lived in an owner-occupied home without a loan or mortgage. As such, 7 out of every 10 (70.1%) persons in the EU-28 lived in owner-occupied dwellings, while 19.1% were tenants with a market price rent, and 10.8% were tenants in reduced-rent or free accommodation.

More than half of the population in each EU member state lived in owner-occupied dwellings in 2014, ranging from 52.4% in Germany up to 96.1% in Romania. As such, none of the EU member states recorded a share of tenants that was higher than the share of people living in owner-occupied dwellings. By contrast, in Switzerland (2013 data), the proportion of people who lived in rented dwellings outweighed those living in owner-occupied dwellings, as some 56.0% of the population were tenants. In Sweden (61.3%) and the Netherlands (59.2%) more than half of the population lived in owner-occupied dwellings with an outstanding loan or mortgage; this was also the case in Norway (65.6%) and Iceland (62.9%; 2013 data).

In 2014, 17.1% of the EU-28 population lived in overcrowded dwellings; the highest overcrowding rates among the EU member states were registered in Romania (52.3%), Hungary (44.6%), Poland (44.2%), Bulgaria (43.3%) and Croatia (42.1%), while rates above 50% were also recorded for Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (both 2013 data). By contrast, Belgium (2.0%), Cyprus (2.2%), Ireland (2.8%; 2013 data), the Netherlands (3.5%) and Malta (4.0%) recorded the lowest rates of overcrowding, while seven other EU member states as well as Norway, Switzerland and Iceland (2013 data for the latter two) all reported less than 10.0% of their respective populations living in overcrowded dwellings.

The largest increases between 2013 and 2014 in the share of the population living in overcrowded dwellings were reported by Latvia, the Netherlands, Austria and Luxembourg, their shares rising by at least 0.5 percentage points. By contrast, the overcrowding rate declined in 15 of the 26 EU member states for which data are available (no data for Estonia or Ireland). Reductions between 2013 and 2014 were larger than 1.0 percentage points in Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Denmark.

Chart on top: over 40% of the population of Greece had a housing cost overburden in 2014 followed by Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Romania. There were no Irish data.

Housing Europe, Ireland