The problems of young people have a great cause and a consequence. The cause is the labor market, a crater of temporality, unemployment and low income . The consequence is summarized in a statistic: the majority of Spaniards still live with their parents in their late thirties. Talking about young people is talking about houses, the desire to buy, rent and the effort (in euros) to pay for it.
1. Young Spanish people live with their parents longer than in most of Europe. The average age to leave home is close to 30 years, three years later than the average European. According to Eurostat data , in Spain 64% of people aged 25 to 29 live with their parents, a figure that is only exceeded by Italy, Greece and some Balkan country. They are double or triple that in France (17%), United Kingdom (25%) or Germany (30%), and an absolute contrast with the Nordics (5% or 6%).
Young people who have not become independent increased with the crisis, between 2012 and 2019. With the pandemic they will surely rise again, as suggested by data from the Emancipation Observatory. That that moment is delayed can have multiple reasons, but one obvious one is money.
The stakeholders themselves say it: 75% of young people explain that they do not leave home due to lack of economic stability, according to the 2019 Injuve survey . For those who do, it often means living on a fair income: 34% of the self-employed aged 25-29 are at risk of poverty or exclusion, more than in any EU country, according to Eurostat.
2. Young people are living more and more for rent. Another change in recent decades is the advance of rent over purchase. If in 2006 or 2007 we looked at young households – those whose main breadwinner was someone under 30 years of age – we saw that there were twice as many houses owned by them than rented. But that relationship has been reversed: now 50% live for rent and only 25% own.
Added to this transformation is another significant trend: the percentage of young households that have a rented house or pay a low rent, perhaps symbolic, has doubled. Those households were 10-15% in 2006 and now they are 26% of the total. In other words, one out of every four young households lives off a favor.
There are 600,000 households with a 30-year-old main breadwinner, which represents just 3.5% of the total, practically half the number 15 years ago. There are also fewer households aged 30 to 44 years (26%), while the elderly rose: those where the reference person is between 44 and 65 years old are 41% and those who are supported by someone of retirement age are already 29% of all households.
The rise in rent is also observed for households aged 30 to 44, although in that group owning a home is already the majority option (60%). That has been the pattern in Spain. Our country continues to stand out because there are more families with home ownership than in the EU average (76% by 70%, according to Eurostat ).
3. Paying rent is an effort for half of young households. In Spain many people live in rent because they cannot buy, although they would like to, and they have to stretch their family budget to pay the rent every month. This effort is one of the highest in Europe.
As an example, we can look at the data of couples with a child who live rented: in Spain they spend, on average, almost 30% of their income to pay rent – too much – more than any country in the European Union. Something similar happens with homes in which only a couple or an adult lives with a child, the data for Spain is the worst in the entire Union.
Normally it is not advisable to dedicate more than 30% of your family income to paying for the house. But in Spain most of the people who live in rent exceed that figure.
Taking the microdata from the Living Conditions Survey, we have calculated that 46% of the households that live in rent (at market price) have to dedicate an amount greater than that 30% to the monthly payment of rent. They are in what we can call an overstrain situation . In the case of young people, this percentage rises to 51%.
The effort is especially intense in large cities. In Madrid, 58% of all rental homes dedicate more than 30%, for example; in Catalonia, 49% do so and in the Balearic Islands, 47%.
And there are differences especially by type of home. 69% of single mothers or fathers are in a situation of overexertion, the same as 75% of women who live alone and half of large families.
4. The price of leaving home: 1,600 euros per square meter. The difficulty to become emancipated has a simple explanation: young people have low incomes and houses are expensive. Since the great crisis, the appraised value of the square meter has followed the evolution of unemployment.
Prices stopped growing when unemployment began to escalate, back in 2007. At its peak they exceeded 4,000 euros on average in Madrid and Barcelona, to drop to 2,500 in 2015. At that time the economy was improving, there was more work and prices They rose again to around 3,200 euros per meter in those cities, 30% more than on their land.
The most expensive provinces are Guipuzkoa, Madrid, Barcelona, Bizkaia and the Balearic Islands, where the square meter is priced 40% more expensive than the national average. The same thing happens with rentals. Renting a house of 75 meters would cost about 875 euros at the median price of the province of Madrid and about 750 in Barcelona, but only 315 in Lugo or Castellón.
Big cities are especially inaccessible. As can be seen in this other map , the typical apartment in Madrid or Barcelona is close to 850 euros in monthly rent, while in Malaga it is around 620 euros; in Valencia, the 520 euros; and in Murcia, 460 euros.
Furthermore, the differences are accentuated if we look at neighborhoods or certain municipalities . In Madrid and Barcelona they can be huge: in both there are hundreds of neighborhoods where the most common rent for a flat does not reach 700 euros, but there are also a dozen where it exceeds 2,000 euros.
Finally, the search engine allows you to consult the data of hundreds of locations. There are municipalities around Barcelona, near Madrid or in the Balearic Islands where the price per square meter exceeds 3,000 euros in appraisal value and where the highest rents (25% more expensive) exceed 15 euros per square meter.
On the other hand, in places in inland Spain, such as Villarrobledo (Albacete) or Puertollano (Ciudad Real), the priced metro barely exceeds 600 euros.