Many Europeans are finding the dream of owning a home unattainable in light of escalating property prices. This dire reality is exacerbated by the high cost of living that has considerably impacted urban residents and lower-income households.

“The increase in housing prices is tremendous and is even more severe in cities, especially in large cities,” commented Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director of the OECD Center for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions, and Cities, speaking to POLITICO. “And it no longer affects only the poor but also the middle class,” she added.

As EU economies were bouncing back in 2022, the Russia-Ukraine conflict posed a new headache for EU governments, forcing them to readjust fiscal policies in light of a major cost-of-living crisis for households. Not only has housing become more expensive, but it is also increasingly difficult to afford quality properties.

Many Europeans last winter found themselves delaying loan or rent payments and struggled to keep their homes warm.
Illustrative of the situation is that those looking to buy a home in some central European cities such as Zurich, Paris, and London are required to pay unprecedented amounts, reaching up to €18,000 per square meter.

Meanwhile, property prices in Greece are surging at the fastest rate in Europe, as real estate costs far exceed the budget of the average Greek household, according to Bloomberg’s analysis.

As the media outlet notes, the hike in property prices is a phenomenon specific to Greece which is partially attributed to the impacts of the Greek debt crisis affecting the supply. In Athens, property prices increased by 12.2% in October, while in Paris and Stockholm, prices decreased.

Athens has become one of the most sought-after real estate markets, with previously “forgotten” or run-down areas experiencing a revival and becoming comparable to wealthy European cities.