The Minister of State, Akis Skertsos, refers to the innovative ideas of the government plan that will provide a solution to the social problem of securing housing especially for young people and at the same time offer them hope, in an article in the newspaper “TA NEA Savvatokyriako”.
“The fear of the new generation that, for the first time since World War II, they may live worse than that of their parents is real. And it does not only concern our country but all young Europeans,” the Minister of State points out in his article . He underlines that “the economic ordeal of the past decade, the climate crisis, the refugee and migration issue, the pandemic and now the energy crisis and the inflationary pressures on income brought about by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have created an environment of multiple crises that are now “normality” in young people’s lives”.
In his article, Mr. Skertsos emphasizes that this finding should not stop the ambitions of young people, but “it is enough to turn into an awareness and a springboard for brave initiatives in favor of the new generation. It is enough to lead to a new contract between the elders and the younger people, with the aim of a fairer Greece and – finally – a fairer redistribution of resources and opportunities to young people who are among the system’s perennial losers”.
And he notes: “This plan is already being prepared by the government with the aim of being announced by the prime minister at the next TIF and is applied, among other things, to the issue of cheaper housing.
What do we observe today in contrast to previous decades in this critical field? That what for our salaried parents of the previous generation was self-evident, is almost impossible today: young couples find it difficult to obtain their own “tile” on their own. A worrying indicator here is the downward trend that home ownership has taken in our country in recent years – although it still remains at higher levels than the European average (74% versus 70%). This downward trend must be reversed with the help of a modern affordable housing policy.”
He adds that what is also troubling is that “housing costs eat up a disproportionately large part of the disposable income of the general population in Greece, compared to other countries. 1 in 3 citizens spends more than 40% of their income on housing costs, when the corresponding percentage in Europe moves to 20%. We must also converge to this percentage in order to make the cost of living more bearable and to have the possibility to save. The increases in the minimum wage which have cumulatively reached 22% in the last 4 years together with the tax reductions boost disposable income, but at the same time they are offset by corresponding increases in rents (25%) and property prices (23%)”.
Also pointing out that “what drives real estate prices up more rapidly is the limited supply of modern housing compared to the demand that exists”, and therefore “an exclusively subsidized policy will not solve the problem of ever-increasing prices”, Mr Schertsos underlines the need for “our cheaper housing policies to be smarter and aim to increase the supply of more modern homes either for long-term lease or for purchase by younger people”.
And he concludes in his article: “The government plan moves in this direction with the aim of offering a menu of tools, supports and incentives especially for young people to occupy existing underutilized private and public properties. A significant budget program with innovative ideas that will give solutions to this major social problem and hope for young people. Because Greece must become and will become a more welcoming place for its young people so that they can live and realize their dreams as they should, with greater autonomy, freedom and security” .