How do young people access housing?

Aitana Alguacil Denche, sociologist
Adapted by Núria Vallès-Peris

Demand for housing accompanies the creation and transformation of households. For this reason, the demand is greater among the younger population, which at the same time is the group most affected by the imbalance between the residential and the labour market. Young people are accessing housing late and with difficulties. This contributes towards delaying emancipation, interferes with the transition to adult life and leads to a decrease in the population’s fertility rates.
Key points
  • 1
       In Spain, the average age of emancipation stands at 29.3 years (EU= 26.6), the fertility rate at 1.3 children per woman (EU= 1.6), and the average age for becoming a mother at 31.9 years (EU= 30.5).
  • 2
       Traditionally in Spain, young people have opted for owner occupancy: there has been a very meagre offering of rental, and the idea of property as a form of investment (and rental as a form of wasting money) became generalised while for years there has been institutional promotion of homebuying.
  • 3
       In the third quarter of 2018, the rate of youth unemployment (age 16 to 29 years) stood at 25.2%, (14.5% for the whole of the population) and 53.1% of the younger population had temporary contracts (versus 23.1% of the total population).
  • 4
       Since 2007, the proportion of young people who acquire a home under ownership has declined and access to rental has increased. Since 2012, rental has been the majority tenure regime among those aged between 16 and 29 years.
For young people the cost of rental is currently higher than the cost of homebuying.
Evolution of the housing cost for rental and owner occupancy, expressed as a percentage of the household’s disposable income allocated to paying for housing.

Historically, rental tenure represented less of an economic effort than homebuying, but since 2015 this relationship has been turned around.

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