Global map showing the ownership vs rental split rate

This year, it was revealed 56 percent of the United Kingdom wanted to buy their own home to give them a sense of security.

However, the latest findings from Swinton Insurance reveal homeownership is dropping on a global scale, with 22 of the world’s developed countries seeing a decline in homeownership over the past 10 years, including the United Kingdom where the current rate is 65%, an 11% decrease from 2008.

Swinton Insurance has analyzed 10 years of homeownership and rental data of the world’s developed countries to see how ownership rates change across the planet. The findings revealed only three countries saw a significant increase in homeownership rates over the past decade – Australia (86%), Poland (35%) and Japan (24%). Ireland and the UK saw the biggest decline in homeownership (-11%) followed by Denmark (-9%), Iceland (-9%) and Slovenia (-7%).

Most significant change in home ownership over 10 years

For homeownership, a person’s salary heavily influences their decision when it comes to renting or buying. A key trend uncovered in the research shows most countries see a similar ratio of salary needed to the cost of price per square meter.

In the UK, the average monthly salary is €2,112 ($2,340) and the average cost to purchase per square meter is €4,149 ($4,586) which is equivalent to two months’ salary is required to purchase just one square meter. In comparison, the average price to rent is €1,015 ($1,124) per month, which is less than half of the average monthly salary. This shows how affordability plays a key factor when it comes to the declining trend of homeownership across the world.


The most expensive country to buy property is the Czech Republic, where it costs three times the monthly salary of €1,009 ($1,118) to buy one square meter (€3,000 / $3,323). France is also costly, at 2.7x the monthly salary of €1,980 ($2,194) to buy a square meter (€5,383 / $5,964). The cheapest country to buy a home, in relative terms, is the United States where the monthly salary is €2,769 ($3,068) and one square meter costs €2,073 ($2,297).

Most and least affordable countries to buy vs home ownership rate

This indicates there are other factors besides salaries that contribute to lower homeownership in countries where salaries are higher, such as Switzerland, notoriously known for its soaring cost of living, where the average salary is €4,652 ($5,154) but the homeownership rate is 42.5%.

Top 10 most expensive countries to buy vs monthly salary
Highest and lowest monthly salaries vs home ownership rate

For those who rent a property, the data revealed one month’s salary is approximate twice the cost of a month’s rent. People living in Greece and Switzerland have the best salary to rent ratio – with low rent costs in Greece (€399 / $442 per month) and high salaries in Switzerland. Residents in Malta had the worst salary to rent figures – with an average salary of €1178 ($1,305), but a monthly rent cost of £911. 

Top 10 most expensive countries to rent vs monthly salary
Most and least affordable countries to rent vs rental rate

 Angela BowdenHome Insurance Specialist at Swinton Home Insurance said:

“It’s interesting to see that homeownership rates have dropped in developed countries globally.

Our research shows that there are other factors at play other than just affordability – using the example of Switzerland, where salaries are so high, but the homeownership rate is very low – indicating that the cost of living and even personal preferences can dictate whether people become homeowners or not.”

Angela Bowden, Home Insurance Specialist

The homeownership and rental rate trends are displayed in a series of visuals that are available to view here

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