Cyprus has the highest percentage of its GDP invested in the housing sector compared with other EU Member States, according to the Housing in Europe report published by Eurostat.
In 2020, according to the report, 5.4% of the total EU GDP was invested in housing.
At 7.6%, Cyprus was top of the list for investment, followed by Finland at 7.1% and Germany at 1.1%.
At the other end of the scale, investment in Greece was 1.1%, Poland 2.0% and Ireland 2.1% and Slovenia 2.3%.
Cyprus houses larger than EU average
Cyprus ranked fourth in the size of house with 2 rooms per person (with the EU average of 1.6 rooms). Malta filled the top spot with 2.3 rooms, followed by Belgium and Ireland each of which had 2.1 rooms.
The countries with the least number of rooms were Romania (1.1 rooms), Croatia, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia (all with 1.2 rooms on average per person).
Quality of housing
The quality of housing can be measured in many ways. One is whether people live in an overcrowded home. In the EU in 2020, 17.8% of the population lived in an overcrowded home, a share which has fallen from 19.1% in 2010.
In 2020, the highest overcrowding rates were recorded in Romania (45.1%), Latvia (42.5%) and Bulgaria (39.5%), and the lowest in Cyprus (2.5%) and Malta (4.2%).
32% of the EU population live in an under-occupied home. The classic cause of under-occupation is older individuals or couples remaining in their home after their children have grown up and left. In the EU in 2020, nearly a third of the population (32.5%) lived in an under-occupied home, a share which has been almost stable since 2010.
In 2020, the highest rates of under-occupied homes were recorded in Malta (72.5%), Cyprus (71.4%) and Ireland (63.3%), and the lowest in Romania (7.1%), Latvia (10.3%) and Greece (11.0%).
When looking at the quality of housing, the report considered other aspects including the ability to keep the house warm, the lack of toilet and shower and a leaking roof.
In the EU in 2020, 8.2% of the population did not have the ability to keep the house adequately warm. The highest rates were recorded in Bulgaria (27.5%), Lithuania (23.1%), Cyprus (20.9%) and Portugal (17.5%), and the lowest in Austria (1.5%), Finland (1.8%) and Czechia (2.2%).
On average in the EU, 1.5% of the population lacked a toilet, shower or bath. This was most common in Romania (21.2% of the population), followed by Bulgaria and Latvia (both 7.0%) as well as Lithuania (6.4%).
The final aspect the EU report considered in the Quality of Housing section of its report was the percentage of people living in a home with a leaking room.
Judging from the number of emails I receive about this particular problem, it came as no surprise that 39.1% of the population of Cyprus live in a home with a leaking roof; almost three times the EU average of 13.1%.
Portugal came in second place with 25.2% and Slovenia came third with 20.8%.
Housing prices and rents
There has been a steady upwards trend in house prices since 2013 with particularly large increases between 2015 and 2020. In total there was an increase of 26% between 2010 and 2020. There were increases in 23 Member States and decreases in three (data for Greece not available) over this period.
The largest increases were recorded in Estonia (+108%), Hungary (+91%), Luxembourg (+89%), Latvia (+81%) and Austria (+77%), while decreases were registered in Italy (-15%), Spain (-5%) and Cyprus (-4%).
There has been a steady increase of rents in the EU between 2010 and 2020; 14% in total during the whole period. Increases were recorded in 25 Member States and a fall in two.
The largest increases were recorded in Estonia (+145%), Lithuania (+107%) and Ireland (+63%), while decreases were registered in Greece (-25%) and Cyprus (-5%).