How well off are the French in real estate terms?

Compared to their european neighbours, the French devote amongst the lowest amount towards real estate, largely due to the benefits of low French mortgage rates.

A study by the Credit Foncier examined the respective weight real estate has in the budget of European households and reviewed various aspects of national markets.

Month to month, the French devote just 18.3% of income towards property, against a third for the Dutch and Germans, and a quarter for the British. Only the Italians spend less than the French in real estate expenditure.

Why is this the case? These differences are largely explained by the proportion of tenants in the private sector and also the number of owners who have not yet paid off their loans. These two categories of people are those who spend the most on housing and in France and Italy these are few in number compared to elsewhere in Europe.

In Italy, more than half of the population are outright homeowners with nothing to repay, thus explaining why Italians spend the least on housing. This high proportion is linked to a very strong culture of ownership, particularly in the South, and the fact that many become owners through family inheritance and bequeathment.

In France, 10% of the population has finished paying their mortgages. In addition, 15% of the population receives subsidized rent via social housing (against 10% in the EU), which explains why the French spend on average rather less than their neighbours.