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UK gets least value from housing despite spending more

  • March 27, 2024
  • 2 min read
UK gets least value from housing despite spending more

The UK spends more on its housing than nearly every other developed country while getting the least value from it. Research by the Resolution Foundation has revealed how Britain has some of the oldest as well as smallest, most inconveniently located, and poorest quality housing in the developed world, despite paying among the most for it.

Only Finland among OECD countries spends more on housing than British workers as a proportion of its total spending. When you take into account quality, size, age, and proximity to hobs, the UK has higher costs than any other developed economy, the think tank’s research has found.  

Even those living in central areas of New York City enjoy greater floor space than the average person in England and nearly a quarter more than Londoners. England has on average more modest home sizes compared with many countries. Even Japan, historically known for smaller homes, has recently overtaken England.  

No country in the EU has older housing stock than Britain. Nearly four in 10 homes in the UK were built before the end of the Second World War. That’s twice as many as in the Netherlands and nearly four times as many as Finland. This is one of the reasons that UK homes perform badly in terms of energy efficiency.

Brits also spend longer on our commutes compared with the EU average. This means that “our expensive, small, old, poor-quality housing isn’t even located in convenient places,” says Sky News.

It is no surprise that Brits are less likely to buy second homes. Only Germany and the Republic of Ireland have lower rates of second-home ownership than England. Austria and Canada, countries with similar spending levels to the UK, buy nearly a quarter more housing than the UK.

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