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Housing absorbs largest share of consumer spending in Europe


02 Nov 2011


Health & Consumers
Euro & Finance

RICS research report – ‘The housing sector – Consumption of households from a European perspective’

Housing-related expenditure has increased considerably in Europe over the last decade and now represents the highest share of consumer spending at EU level, says the latest research published by RICS. 

The report will be officially launched today at the International Housing Summit in Rotterdam – the only global forum for the affordable housing sector.

As a consequence of growing incomes, housing evolved into the most relevant item of consumer spending in an increasing number of EU Member States. The research also shows that countries with a higher level of income per capita spent more on housing-related consumption. Owner-occupied housing has also increased and data shows that housing consumption is the largest share of consumer spending in 21 out of 27 EU Member States. In 2009, the equivalent of 1500bn Euros was spent on housing at EU level.

RICS Senior Vice President, Michael Newey FRICS CEO of Broadland Housing and expert on affordable housing said:  “Although European legislation does not affect national housing policies, there is a lack of easily accessible data and research on consumers’ housing-related expenditure at EU level. 

He continued: “In times of economic uncertainty and budget restrictions for both governments and households across Europe, comprehensive data on consumer spending is essential. With this in mind, the latest RICS report addresses this gap by providing an overview of consumer spending with a specific focus on housing.”

Michael Newey will be leading a session at the International Housing Summit on financing in the affordable housing sector and Sachin Sandhir, Managing Director of RICS India will deliver a presentation on land-shortage issues and opportunities for foreign developers in India.

Speaking abaout the research report, Sander Scheurwater, Head of EU Policy and Public Affairs & Co-chair of the European Housing Forum, further commented: “The fact that housing absorbs the largest of consumer spending is, on the one hand, a direct consequence of rising energy-related expenses, which once again shows the importance of tackling energy efficiency of existing building stock in a cost-efficient way.” 

He continued: “On the other hand, the increasing importance of housing expenditure for home-owners shows that, in most EU countries, buying a house or an apartment is the preferred option of many. National policies have certainly strengthened this. In a time of decreasing budgets, both for countries and households, the question whether such an approach is sustainable will need to be addressed.”

Peter Parlasca FRICS, author of the report, commented: “Housing is not only a vital element in consumer spending. According to data published by Eurostat, the importance of housing increased for European consumers during the last decade. The main driver over time were the increasing relevance of owner occupied housing in Europe. The huge discrepancies between EU member States are not linked to the level of income, but reflect different structures within national housing markets.”


About RICS

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is the world’s leading qualification when it comes to professional standards in land, property and construction.

In a world where more and more people, governments, banks and commercial organisations demand greater certainty of professional standards and ethics, attaining RICS status is the recognised mark of property professionalism.

Close to 100 000 property professionals working in the major established and emerging economies of the world have already recognised the importance of securing RICS status by becoming members.

RICS is an independent professional body originally established in the UK by Royal Charter. Since 1868, RICS has been committed to setting and upholding the highest standards of excellence and integrity – providing impartial, authoritative advice on key issues affecting businesses and society. RICS is a regulator of both its individual members and firms enabling it to maintain the highest standards and providing the basis for unparalleled client confidence in the sector.

For more information:

Kate Symons

PR Manager (secondment) - RICS Europe 

T: +32 (0)2 739 42 27 - M: +32 (0)479 35 43 38



Gael Bassetto

Communications Officer

T: +32 (0)2 289 25 30