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UK ranked third least affordable country in Europe for housing

Of the 29 EU countries, only Denmark and Greece are below the UK

Families in the UK are among the worst off in Europe in terms of total housing costs according to new European Union research.

The new Statistics on Income and Living Standards report shows that one in six people in the UK are overburdened by housing costs, spending more than 40% of their income on costs such as rent, mortgage payments and other living costs associated with their home.

Only Denmark and Greece are shown to be worse off in the list of EU countries. In Portugal only 4.2% of people spend more than 40% of their income on housing, compared to 16% in the UK. The figures for Spain and Italy are 11.2% and 7.5% respectively with France at 5.2%.

“These figures are the evidence that the UK housing market is deeply dysfunctional," says Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter. "With so many families spending huge amounts of their income on their rent or mortgage, people will be making daily trade-offs between food bills, filling the car tank with petrol, and paying their housing costs. 

“And this is not set to get better any time soon. While the situation is bleak at the moment, a succession of governments failing to provide much needed affordable homes means that the future facing our children and our children’s children is only set to get worse. Housing is the largest monthly cost for most people, yet the affordability of housing is not getting the same attention as the monthly costs of other essentials such as food or fuel. We believe all political parties must recognise solving our housing crisis is as fundamental as health and education.”