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Affordable housing statistics across Western Europe

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One of the most popular topics of conversation around the world is the housing affordability crisis.

The cost of living combined with inflation has significantly impacted citizens across Europe. What’s also clear is that there is no single solution that can solve the problem. Each European state has taken a different approach to address the issue and provide individuals with quality and livable residences.

Sharing these potential solutions and collaborating on projects with government agencies can further this cause. That’s why we’ve collated some examples of how different countries are attempting to tackle this issue.


Affordable housing is provided to citizens of Belgium who are on low incomes, regardless if they are individuals or families. The system is primarily located in the Brussels, Flemish, and Walloon regions, where there are large communities and job opportunities.

Approximately 6.5% of the housing market consists of affordable offerings, which equates to 280,000 units. Instead of increasing the supply, the country has turned its focus to renovating existing buildings and will spend €133.44 million on improving the energy performance and improving the structural integrity.


The Danish government was an outlier in 2020 when it renovated existing social housing units almost fourfold year on year. Additional funding was allocated to 2021 to add another 70,000 buildings to the total. It would also create 15,000 jobs.

Roughly 21% of the stock in Denmark is affordable housing offerings. However, there are still plans to build 22,000 low-cost housing units by 2035. But the feedback hasn’t been positive as this solution doesn’t address the reasons why more people are applying for access to this service.


Demand for social housing has been rising in France before the pandemic. The primary reason is due to the rise in property prices. From 2007 to 2020, it increased by 11% overall and 36% within cities.

The country has 16% of properties considered affordable housing solutions. The French government has turned to incentives to improve the situation. As part of the French Recovery Plan, owners of social housing certified in 2021 will receive tax refunds, and they will introduce contracts in territories experiencing difficulty in the sector.


The new German government made affordable housing a part of its campaign and will look to deliver it while in office. One of the first initiatives they’re starting with is introducing a new ministry to oversee the sector.

To date, affordable housing makes up 3% of the market. However, the government has pledged to build 400,000 new units every year, with 100,000 to be publicly subsidized. Based on population forecasts, the country will need these numbers at a minimum to meet the current migration trends.


Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have recognized that the lack of affordable housing is at a critical state. The goal is to build 300,000 new homes by the end of the decade, with 90,000 part of social security housing and 36,000 coming under affordable housing.

The current percentage of affordable housing in Ireland is 9%. By 2030, the government plans to eliminate homelessness. As a part of the Housing Priority Implementation Plan, 1200 leases will be provided between now and 2026. The priority will be for those who currently sleep on the streets, utilize emergency shelters long-term, and have complex needs.

United Kingdom

The UK has struggled to meet its ambition of 300,000 new homes per year due to the pandemic. In the previous financial year, 216,000 were created, which was lower than the 243,000 built in the prior 12 months.

Affordable housing options make up 17% of the market. There is currently a backlog of citizens living in unsuitable accommodation and experiencing affordability pressures. The National Housing Federation estimated that 340,000 new homes are needed each year to meet demand, with a minimum of 145,000 being considered affordable solutions.

Stay up to date on affordable housing trends

The affordable housing issue is different for every country in the UK and European Union. Some are addressing the situation by implementing new initiatives as part of the economic recovery plan. Meanwhile, others are focused on renovating existing structures to improve the living conditions for the current residents.

Staying up to date on the latest affordable housing trends is a way to share ideas, data, and potential solutions to this problem plaguing Europe. You can get all of the latest information direct to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter. Hit this link to sign up today.