EU-SILC 2007: on housing maintenance expenditure and its influence on household financial situation

29.01.2009

The Central Statistical Bureau carried out survey on Community Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), and the data of 2007 [1] show that housing costs [2] on average in the country reached 60 LVL per household per month, and in comparison with previous year it has increased by 24%. In rural areas housing costs has grown more rapidly than in urban areas.

Total housing maintenance expenditure (on average per household per month, LVL)

Latvia

Urban areas

Riga

Rural areas

2005

44.39

49.76

54.99

31.46

2006

48.72

54.61

59.45

35.97

2007

60.20

65.83

69.60

46.52

2007 as per cent of 2006

124

121

117

129

Burden of housing costs varies in households of different types. Households with lover income find it more difficult to cover these costs.

Total housing costs and its share in disposable income by quintiles, 2007[3]

Although, housing costs of the households belonging to the poorest (first) quintile [3] is lower then that of others, the rate of their housing maintenance expenditure reaches 28% of their disposable income. This share is noticeably higher than in other quintile groups and causes financial tension in the budgets of the poorest households. Considerable burden of hosing costs is observed in a single person households, where this expenditure reaches 27% of the disposable income, as well as in households consisting of one adult with children under age of 17 (21%). This share of housing costs is especially high for single pensioners, for them this expenditure reaches even 33% of the disposable income.

In 2007 total housing costs created financial difficulties for almost every third (29%) household, according to the survey data. Those householdscharacterise the housing costs as “a heavy burden”.

Breakdown of answers to the question “Is total housing cost a financial burden to your household?”, 2007 (in per cent)

During the time period between 2005 and 2007 the share of households for which housing costs were “a heavy burden” has decreased (from 36% to 29%). It was partly because of the rapid growth of the income. But poorest households (of 1st and 2nd quintile), regardless this positive trend, feel the burden of the housing costs much more explicitly (46% and 41%, respectively). Among the other regions of Latvia burden of housing costs is the heaviest for households living in Latgale. 41% of households living in this region characterise hosing costs as “a heavy burden”, but in Riga such characterisation was given by one fourth (24%) of the households.

Pensioners are the share of Latvia’s population for whom to cover the housing costs it is the most difficult. 50% of pensioner households in 2007 characterised the coverage of these costs as “heavy burden”. Also single persons and families with 3 and more children find it difficult to meet the housing costs. 40% of single person households and 35% of households with 3 and more children mentioned that, they find housing expenditure a “heavy burden”. Population at working age, as well as households of two adults with 1 or 2 children are in better situation.

According to the survey data in 2007 almost every tenth (8.9%) household (in 2006 – 12.6%) during the last 12 month due to the lack of the money had debt for public utility bills [4]. Considerably higher share of households with debts was among households with three and more children(18%) and households consisting of one adult and children (17%).

[1] In EU-SILC 2007 the data on hosing conditions were compiled for the moment when the survey was carried out, but data on income - on previous year (2006). In survey of 2007 4471 household was surveyed.

[2] Housing maintenance expenditure consists of following:

- For owners: Mortgage payments, dwelling insurance costs, real estate and land tax, public utilities services, costs of current repairs and regular maintenance, waste disposal, other housing payments (elevator, staircase lightning etc.);

- For tenants: Rent, public utilities services, waste disposal, costs of current repairs and regular maintenance, other housing expenditure.

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

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

[4] Public utilities include payments for water, gas, electricity and heat.

Prepared by Household Budget Statistics Section
Tel. +371 67366998
Lidija Spārīte