EU-SILC 2005: Housing conditions and factors influencing them

28.03.2007

Housing conditions considerably influence prosperity and life quality of each person: health, working capacity, economic activity, family conditions, social life etc.

In this press release is included information obtained from the Community Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). The Central Statistical Bureau Interviewer’s Coordination Section carries out the survey on regular bases and in 2005 were surveyed 3843 households.

Nowadays housing quality and comfort have new requirements. But it is necessary to take into account, that in Latvia most of the houses are built several decades or more ago, when the requirements for housing quality were considerably lower.

In Latvia most of the households (63%) live in multi-dwelling houses with 10 and more dwellings, but in private houses - 24% of the households. In multi-dwelling houses are living mostly urban households (76%), in Riga – even 85% of the households. Half of the rural households, in turn, live in private houses (in urban areas - 13%, in Riga – 4,9%).

The average number of rooms for one household was 2,4 rooms, according to survey data. In average each household member had less than one (0,94) room, what testifies the certain overpopulation of the dwellings. The breakdown of dwellings according to number of rooms available for households is characterized in the fallowing graph.

Household breakdown by the number of dwelling living rooms

In the survey were asked several questions connected with housing problems. EU-SILC survey data on 2005 show that considerable part of the respondents are worried about such problems as leaking roof, moisture walls, ceiling, floors or house foundations, as well as rot in window framing. Almost a half (49%) of surveyed households named these problems. But the most of the Riga households were worried about violence and criminality in residence neighbourhood (33%) and anxiety about pollution of surrounding environment, dust and/or other environmental problems near the residence (30%).

Rate of respondents indicating particular housing problems
(in per cent)

With increase of mortgage crediting values, housing maintenance expenditure1 is important factor, which may influence financial prosperity in each household. Average in country monthly they reached Ls 44 per one household, forming 17% of their disposable income, according to EU-SILC survey data of 2005.

Nevertheless the rate of expenditure for dwelling is not very high, in comparison with  their disposable income, the housing expenses still for part of the households arise problems of financial character. Very bothering, according to the evaluation given by the households, it was for slightly more than a one third of households (36%), but slightly bothering for almost a half of them (47%). Only every sixth household or 17% of their total number said, that mentioned expenditure is not bothering. Moreover there are no significant differences between urban and rural areas.

Total household housing expenses and their rate in monetary disposable income in quintiles

Nevertheless the households owned by the poorer (first) quintile2 for housing pay less than others, the rate of their expenditure for housing maintenance reach 32% of disposable income and creates serious tension in their budgets.

Debt for public utility service bills because of the lack of the money had 18% of the households (in urban areas – 21%), according to EU-SILC survey data of 2005. Debt for rent and mortgage credit payments in last 12 months because of the lack of the money had almost 5% of the households (4,9%). Debt for utility service bills had slightly more than a quarter of surveyed (27%)households from first (poorest) quintile, but 19% of the households from second quintile what is almost an average rate of such debts in total number of households (18%).

Prepared by Social Statistics Department
Tel.7 366 908
Edmunds Vaskis

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1Housing maintenance expenditures are fallowing:

    - mortgage payments (only for owners);

    - housing insurance payments;

    - rent for housing (only for tenants);

    - housing property tax (only for owners);

    - housing benefit (if is granted);

    - heating, electricity, water supply and sewerage, waste disposal, etc. payments connected with housing;

    - expenditure on housing current repair and regular maintenance;

    - expenditure on housing (not property) insurance(if such are paid).

Here are included only expenses necessary to pay to live in the dwelling. Expenses of the household covered to provide extra comfort (e.g. payments for cable TV, telephone bills, etc.) are not included.

2Quintile – one fifth from surveyed households, which are in breakdown in growing sequence according to their monetary disposable income per one household member.