Sky-high rents – Housing insecurity today
Access to decent and affordable housing is a basic need for every person or household and a prerequisite for the fulfilling of all other basic needs. This is why it’s been recognised as a fundamental social right for everyone. There’s no need to further justify that. It suffices to consider for a moment what our lives would be like without housing. It’s as simple as that.
A number of historical and social factors led to a rather distinct model of owner-occupation dwelling in Greece, that’s quite different from other European countries.
However, nowadays there seems to be a tendency to move away from this model. The percentage of households that live in rented flats/ houses is on the rise, especially in major urban centres. At the same time, the increased difficulty in getting mortgages, especially after the recession, makes it even harder to buy a house for vast parts of Greek society.
Renting costs are a pressing issue for an ever-increasing part of the population. The specific demographics of the affected people (mainly 22-45 year-olds, living in major cities) increase the social pressure and lead the most creative and productive parts of society into rather uncertain living conditions.
At the same time, there are two major tendency categories that are making the issue even harder.
The most visible one would be the shrinking of the households’ available income, from 2010 onwards. This tendency alone, makes the mortgage payment a heavier load on each family’s/ household’s budget.
The second tendency might be less visible but it’s just as significant, and is none other than the changes in the real estate market and in the cities themselves. The violent promotion of tourism (tourismisation), the expansion of AirBnB, the regulatory framework for foreign real estate investments and the chaotic urban planning, all form a new landscape that hugely affects the renting costs.
At Eteron we believe that the renting issue in Greece’s urban centres isn’t circumstantial. It is a structural problem that exists in other major European cities too, and is creating conditions of a new type of uncertainty for the population.
With that in mind, our aims are:
With the above aims in mind, we would like to collaborate with researchers, citizens’ movements, local authorities and all those who form public policy, not just in order to understand the situation, but also to change it.