The Best & Worst EU Countries for New Homeowners

Rising property prices and stagnant wages are a real barrier for young first time buyers looking to get onto the property ladder. This issue has lead to a whole generation being dubbed ‘Generation Rent’ with property prices rising at such a rate, many young people have no alternative but to rent.

The map below exposes the worst EU country’s for first time buyers, and also shows country’s where opportunities for new potential new owners are more desirable.

Data for this research was obtained from statisa sources, including Deloitte. Each country was ranked on three factors:

  1. Homeownership rates
  2. The size of new homes built costing €200,000 (£179,000)
  3. Mortgage interest rates

The ranks for each country were then averaged to determine which locations offer the best and worst options for new homeowners and first time buyers looking to get on to the property ladder in Europe.

Research Findings

The United Kingdom was exposed as the worst EU country for new homeowners. The UK has a homeownership rate of just 63.5%, 4th lowest in all EU countries ranked. The United Kingdom also ranked last place for the size of new homes built costing €200,000 (£179,000), which should come as no surprise to many who are all too aware of cramped living spaces.

On average a home purchase of €200,000 or £179,000 would afford you a property 39 sq m in size, far smaller than the next lowest country France with dwellings 50 sq m in size for the same price and a world away from the 196 sq m available in Hungary which ranked 1st and five times larger than the properties of similar value in the UK. With average mortgage interest rates of 2.16% the United Kingdom also ranked 6th worst from the EU countries covered by the research.

Portugal was deemed the most desirable location for potential new homeowners in the EU, ranking consistently well in the three factors examined with a homeownership rate of  74.8% (7th), a very spacious average size of 194 sq m for new properties being built costing €200,000 (2nd) and mortgage interest rates of just 1.77% (6th).

Ireland was exposed as another country that is failing to offer enticing opportunities to new homeowners. Similar to the United Kingdom, Ireland did not rank well for level of homeownership rates, which at 70% was 7th worst of the EU countries examined. Similarly cramped living spaces was another issue uncovered with the 60 sq m properties available for €200,000 ranking 3rd worst. Mortgage interest rates of 3.22% also saw the country ranked 4th worst overall.

Interestingly many Eastern European countries performed well in terms of homeownership rates and the size of affordable properties available, however mortgage rates remain high in these regions. For example Poland ranked in the Top 5 for both homeownership rates (83.7%) and size of new dwellings (181 sq m) however with mortgage interest rates of 4.4% it was the worst of all EU Countries researched.

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