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Greece: Housing out of reach for young people

The lack of an organized housing policy, the dearth of regulations in the real estate market, as well as poor or precarious working conditions, are among the reasons cited by experts to explain young people’s increasing difficulty finding a decent home with affordable rent in Greece’s larger urban centers.

“The leasing sector is limited and there is a lot of competition, especially after the arrival of Airbnb and the shift of investors to residential real estate. As a result, there is a lot of pressure on rents,” said urban planner and researcher on housing issues Dimitra Siatitsa, who is currently examining the housing of young people in the context of her postdoctoral dissertation at the University of Crete.

“To date, there has been no organized housing policy in our country, let alone for young people. There are only student dormitories, which are very limited, and the housing allowance for students, which concern only a specific period,” she said.

This difficulty is further compounded by the social acceptance of young people living at home with their parents.

Drawing on Eurostat data for 2019, she said that 69.4% of young people aged 18-34 still live with their parents, while the average age of those that eventually fly the nest is 29, while the European Union average is 25.

“This data can be interpreted with cultural and social criteria – i.e. the particularities of the Southern European family. However, it also concerns the underdeveloped welfare state and the lack of support for the independence of young people when they take their first steps in the labor market,” she told Kathimerini.

“There is high unemployment among young people in Greece, while those who work get low wages, are often employed in flexible or part-time schemes, and their working life is characterized by insecurity. That, I believe, is the root of the problem,” she added.