A long way from ‘home’: 6 in 10 non-homeowning Europeans believe they won’t have the funds to buy a house in the next 3 years, finds Adevinta

  • High interest rates and low affordability are impeding would-be first time buyers in Europe, in stagnant eurozone housing market.
  • Renters are also feeling the pinch, as over half (54%) struggle to find property within their budget.

19 June 2024 – High interest rates and unaffordable deposits are pricing many Europeans out of buying their first home, whilst expensive rents put further pressure on non homeowners. As economic indicators – such as the European Central Bank interest rate cut in June – point to an improving Eurozone economy, greater affordability will be key to vitalising a stagnant housing market.

That’s according to a new survey of 5,000 European consumers from Adevinta, a leading online classifieds group and significant player in the European real estate market – with specialist property marketplaces, including Fotocasa and habitaclia (ES), and generalist marketplaces with a strong real estate offering, such as leboncoin (FR) and Kleinanzeigen (DE).

Buying still seen as financially sensible and desirable, but barriers to saving and high interest rates are thwarting home seekers

In most European markets surveyed, buying is still seen as the most sensible financial option compared to renting, as half (47%) believe this. This is with the notable exception of Germany where the rental market is more codified and popular than elsewhere in Europe, and where this figure falls to 35%.

But despite clear aspirations to own property, 64% of European non-homeowners claim that they don’t have enough money saved to put down a large enough deposit to buy a home. And as high cost of living dampens savings expectations, 58% don’t foresee being able to save up enough money to put down a deposit to buy within the next 3 years.

High interest rates pose another major barrier. With mortgage rates in the Eurozone having almost tripled over the past two years, 58% of non-homeowners feel that they can’t secure a mortgage due to high interest rates.

Affordability problems rise in rental sector too, and Southern Europeans feel most financially stretched

The majority of those Europeans who don’t own homes (62%) claim they only rent because they can’t afford to buy. 

But renting is no ‘easy out’. As the cost of living crisis continues to take its toll on the consumer wallet, over half (54%) of non-homeowners claim that they are struggling to find a rental property within their budget, with this figure rising to 63% in Spain. 

What’s more, 58% of Europeans believe they can’t live where they want to because rent or property prices are too high, suggesting housing costs are negatively impacting quality of life across the Eurozone.

Feelings of being out of pocket are particularly prevalent in Italy and Spain, where people report having to go over budget in order to secure accommodation. In Italy, citizens would prefer to pay a maximum of 22% of their monthly income for housing, however in practice they report dedicating 28% towards mortgages and 27% for rentals. In Spain, people don’t want to allocate more than 25% of their monthly income towards housing, but in reality commit 28% to mortgages and 30% for rentals.

Roman Campa, Head of Real Estate and Emerging Verticals at Adevinta and CEO of Adevinta Spain, comments: 

“Every country has its own nuances but our data shows home seekers across Europe are being hindered by major affordability challenges. The good news is, the outlook is finally brightening. Should inflation keep falling, and interest rate cuts continue, we may see more home-seekers able to size up or get a foot on the ladder for the first time in key European markets like France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Benelux. This could mean both more opportunity, and more competition for home-seekers. 

“As ever, choosing the right moment to move is a significant decision. In a competitive environment for home-seekers, agents and marketplaces have a major role to play by providing people with as much information and choice as possible, to ease the search journey. Finding a place to call home should be an attainable and enjoyable experience, no matter the external economic context.” 


For more information, contact:

firstlight group
+44 (0)20 3617 7240


5179 respondents (aged 16+) across Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Benelux were surveyed online between 30 April 2024 and 7 May 2024. Research was commissioned by Adevinta and conducted by market research consultancy Censuswide. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.