Danes pay the highest housing costs in the EU

Nowhere in the European Union do people spend more money on basic housing costs than in Denmark.

Danes pay the highest housing costs in the EU
Danes spend more on housing costs than all other Europeans. Photo: marinv/Iris
According to new figures from Eurostat, Danish households use 29.3 percent of their disposable income on housing and standard utilities like water, electricity and gas. 
The EU average for total expenditures on housing and utilities is 24.4 percent of a household’s disposable income. 
Following Denmark as the most expensive countries to live in are Finland, France and Sweden. The cheapest EU country is Malta, where households use just 10.1 percent of their disposable incomes on housing and utilities. 
Not only is Denmark the most expensive country in the EU, it is also home to one of the largest jumps in housing costs over the past decade. Between 2005 and 2015, the share of housing and utilities in household expenditures increased by 3.1 percent in Denmark. The jump in Danish costs was the eighth largest in the 28-country bloc. 
Although the new Eurostat figures did not offer a detailed breakdown on utility spending, a previous analysis from the European electricity association Eurelectric showed that Danes pay the highest electricity prices in the EU thanks to extensive taxes and fees. 
While Danes face the highest housing costs in the union, their household consumption in other areas is cheaper than the EU average. For example, Danes spend just ten percent of their disposable income on food, slightly below the average but roughly just a third of what Romanians spend. 
Danes spend above the EU average when it comes to the purchase of vehicles, thanks to a 150 percent registration tax. But in categories including transport services, communications, household furnishings, clothing and insurance, costs in Denmark are at or below the EU average. 
An interactive graphic comparing household expenditures can be found below. 

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Copenhagen nature area to be developed as city approves land sale

A part of the Amager Fælled nature area has lost its reserve status and can now be sold to investors, after a majority in the city's municipal council voted in favour of development on Thursday.

Copenhagen nature area to be developed as city approves land sale
Amager Fælled. File photo: Asger Ladefoged/Ritzau Scanpix

The 219,000 square-kilometre area, known as Lærkesletten, can be sold to developers who wish to build homes on the land, broadcaster TV2 reported.

The sale raises money needed by the city to pay for the new Metro lines, which opened last year, and was part of a political deal agreed in 2017.

City councillors from the Social Democrats, Social Liberals, Liberals, Conservatives, Danish People's Party and two independents voted in favour, while Red-Green Alliance, Alternative and Independent Green parties and one independent opposed.

Located on the southern edge of the natural area on island Amager, the area is frequently used by people from the city for cycling, running and walking.

“We have seen that nature and the environment are at the centre of the public’s perception of what’s important. They want real wild nature in Denmark,” Gorm Anker Gunnarsen, who represents the Red-Green Alliance on the city council, told news agency Ritzau.

An Epinion survey this week showed that 76 percent of people who live in Copenhagen are either partly or completely against development of the area.

Gunnarsen told Ritzau he still believes there is a chance of preserving the nature zone.

“We have the authority to withdraw a building permit in special circumstances,” he said.

An advisory public vote could on the matter provide the basis for this, he argued.

“This case will not then just rest on which party you are with, but also on your view of the individual case,” he said.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen natural area Amager Fælled gets new development plan