Europe is in a structural housing crisis. The availability of affordable and decent housing has become an alarming problem for many citizens in the EU. Due to speculation the housing costs in Europe’s cities are increasing and have outpaced wages while the new construction of affordable housing is not keeping up with demand. More and more people have to leave cities where the highest employment and education opportunities are and commute to the place of their work.
Not only low-income households are affected by the housing shortage, but also younger generations, pensioners and people from the so-called middle class. In many cities there is already a shortage of professionals keeping the city running (teachers, nurses, police officers, civil servants, cleaning staff etc.) due to high housing costs.
Housing is at the heart of growing economic divides in Europe (World Bank 2018, 14) and the political response to the housing crisis is insufficient (Housing Europe 2019, 8) – similar to the climate protection issue. Homelessness is increasing in almost all Member States rapidly, while more and more accommodations are empty. The unbridled market doesn’t produce affordable, decent and energy efficient housing for broad groups of society. There is a market failure in the housing markets. Therefore, housing must be part of the public responsibility – at European, national and local level.