Faced with limited housing availability, rising inflation and interest rates, and growing property maintenance costs due to strict environmental regulations, analysts have predicted a slowdown in the real estate market. Despite these challenges, a recent study highlights that the desire for relocation in Europe remains steadfast. Driven by concerns about the scarcity of affordable housing, people are exploring innovative solutions, notably communal living, and showing a growing preference for urban settings that emphasize people-centred urban planning.
The survey carried out for RE/MAX Europe by an external polling company asked over 22,000 consumers across 22 countries about their moving plans. It found that around two in every five Europeans (39.3 percent) expect to move within the next two years. The findings also shed light on how consumers are navigating current market challenges such as affordable housing supply shortages, increasing prices, and stricter environmental regulations. The response to these challenges is noteworthy: consumers are innovatively reshaping living paradigms suited for the demands of the 21st century.
Amidst these insights, the data underscores the pervasive issue of affordability. Nearly one in five Europeans (18.5 percent) choose to relocate due to financial constraints. Looking ahead, just over 30 percent express concerns about future moves, fearing they won’t find affordable housing within their budget. These figures emphasize the urgent need for widespread solutions in the housing sector.
Housing Meets the Sharing Revolution: Innovations in Affordable Living
In the face of declining affordability, co-ownership is no longer just about second and holiday homes, but a way to get on the property ladder. Around two-thirds (65 percent) of Europeans would consider co-owning a property with a group of unrelated people, such as friends, colleagues, or even strangers.
Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) find allure in co-ownership for its cost-sharing benefits, surpassing those drawn to it for acquiring a second home (24.5 percent). Co-ownership serves as a pathway to properties that might otherwise be financially out of reach (21.6 percent), while also providing a shared shield against the financial and legal risks associated with sole ownership (19.7 percent).
Over half of Europeans (56.1 percent) could imagine living in a co-living space, which would offer them a private living space and shared access to other amenities. But only if there is a variety of facilities available, as Europeans want cost-effective access to a good range of amenities, such as a shared workspace or games room (25.3 percent). They also see co-living as a way to reduce loneliness and isolation (21.2 percent).
While interest is currently highest among younger Europeans, who have always been more inclined towards communal living, elderly individuals are taking the idea of co-living seriously. Almost half (49.4 percent) of over 35s would consider moving to a co-living space. Around four in 10 (40.4 percent) retired people would consider co-living. Companionship is a bigger motivator for older generations.
Michael Polzler, CEO of RE/MAX Europe, stated; “Europe’s evolving real estate landscape showcases the resilience and adaptability of its people and property market. Amidst the complexities of affordability, Europeans are moving towards fresh models of property ownership and communal living. This isn’t just about adapting to challenges; it’s about reshaping how and where we live.
At RE/MAX Europe, we’re committed to guiding our clients through this new terrain, ensuring that their housing aims align with their financial realities. The message is clear: despite challenges in the property market, Europeans remain committed to finding the right home that fits their needs and aspirations.”
Convenience is the name of the game for urban planning. Almost one-third (31.7 percent) of Europeans have heard of the concept of the 15-minute city, which sites all important services, including hospitals, work and schools within a 15-minute walk or bike ride of people’s homes.
Overall, 55 percent of Europeans felt a shorter daily commute would be a big benefit, while close to five in ten respondents (44.8 percent) believe there would be environmental benefits from creating 15-minute cities, as individuals no longer had to travel large distances on a daily basis. Europeans are also attracted by local access to green space, especially following the pandemic.
The EU’s Green Deal and Fit for 55 programmes are pushing sustainability up the priority list for homeowners. To date, property owners have focused on easy switches like installing LED lighting. However, failure to invest in home energy generation, insulation and energy efficiency measures could result in devaluing properties without further investment.
The shift towards renewable energy sources is a prominent sustainability trend. Almost one in five Europeans (18.7 percent) have already installed solar panels on their properties, and over 40 percent of property owners expect to install solar power (43.2 percent) in the near future, while almost as many want to see greater use of sustainable building materials (40.2 percent) and environmentally conscious construction methods (36.4 percent).