A house or a home?
How do people spend, save, invest and feel about money? An international mortgage survey conducted in June 2016 surveyed nearly 15,000 participants in 15 countries via the internet. In 11 of 15 countries, more than half expected house prices to rise. Only Italy (37%), Poland (43%), France (46%) and Australia (50%) differed. Across Europe, 60% of people considered houses where they lived to be “expensive” or “very expensive”. Across Europe “location” was the reason most often cited for expensive housing, with “increasing population” next. “Level of interest rates” and a perception that there are just “not enough houses being built” came third.
One in three (33%) people indicated that part of their life is on hold due to their housing situation. Of those who were forced to compromise, many have moved into a smaller home than they wanted. Others have had to settle in an area they do not really like. Half of Europeans and 43% of people in the US and Australia agreed that house prices are forcing them to stay in a current home. UK news media coined a phrase “the bank of Mum and Dad”. It refers to parents or other relatives increasingly contributing to help their children buy a home. Turkey (75%), 16 percentage points ahead of Italy, has the highest share who agree that parents should give their children money to help them buy a house. Poland (56%) and Romania (53%) also have relatively high percentages who agree that parents should support these home-owning aspirations. Yet more than two in three (69%) in Europe say they are happy with their housing situation. However, home owners are happier than non-owners in all countries surveyed. The “happiness” gap between home owners and non-owners is widest in the UK.