Bulgaria is in the Top 3 with Most Expensive Housing Maintenance in Villages
In 2021, a total of 10.4% of the EU population lived in households heavily affected by high housing costs, with 6.2% of them in rural areas. This is shown by Eurostat data.
Bulgaria falls into a small group in which this burden in rural areas is particularly high. According to the data, this is most visible in Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. In Bulgaria, the level of the indicator defined by Eurostat - excessive housing costs in the villages, is 13.3%, compared to 22% for Greece and 10.8% for Romania. The lowest are in Cyprus (1.3%), Ireland (1.6%) and Hungary (2.2%).
The situation in Bulgaria and the other two countries differs from the average values for the EU, where this excessive housing burden occurs mainly in cities. Greece also leads there with 32.4%, followed by Denmark (21.9%) and the Netherlands (15.3%).
What does this excess cost indicate?
The Eurostat indicator indicates the proportion of the population living in households for which household maintenance costs make up more than 40% of total income. The idea is to show where and how much home maintenance is an unbearable expense that prevents households from using their income for something else, Andriyan Nikolov from the Institute for Market Economy explained to "Dnevnik".
He emphasizes that in this case it is not about classical monetary poverty, but an attempt to distinguish a separate factor that affects normal life. The general assumption is that households become richer when the share of expenses for basic life needs - food, shelter, health - decreases and that for culture, sports, tourism increases, which indicate an increasing quality of life.
Why is housing maintenance in villages expensive?
In Bulgaria and its neighbors, the explanation lies mostly in low incomes, which mean that poor households spend a large share of their income to cover basic needs, the economist explains. "However, it is striking that at the top of the ranking are also countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium, where the problem comes from the other side - household incomes are not low, but housing maintenance is expensive against the background of the other groups of expenses," he adds. This is also the reason why the share of housing cost overburden is higher in cities.
In the case of the Balkan countries, it is the opposite - due to the great inequality in income between urban and rural areas, although housing costs in the cities are nominally higher here as well, the difference in income is more significant, explains Georgiev.
Greece is a special case - there has been visible stagnation in incomes in recent years, against the background of negative price dynamics. Thus he explains why the housing burden in this country is excessive in both towns and villages. "Thanks to this, especially for poorer households, there is not much change in real income, which also leads to what we see as distribution," he adds.
According to the data in towns in Lithuania (1.6%), Malta (2.9%) and Hungary (3.1%), the indicator for this cost is the lowest in the entire European Union.
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