One out of eight Czechs live with relatives, as housing remains out of reach

Living with another generation offers some advantages, but usually economic factors are the reason

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 10.03.2020 10:00 (updated on 10.03.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Housing has grown out of reach for many people in the Czech Republic. One-eighth of Czechs live in multi-generational houses, and almost half of them say it is because they cannot reach their own housing, according to a recent survey by mortgage bank Wüstenrot.

Housing prices in the Czech Republic have been rising faster than the EU average. In the third quarter of 2019 housing prices were up 8.6% compared to the same time in the previous year, while in the EU 27, excluding Britain, it was up 4.6%. Only Latvia saw a larger increase than the Czech Republic.

Housing in the Czech Republic in Q3 2019 was 43.3% more expensive than in the 2015, while in the EU27 it rose 21.0% in the same time. Again, only Latvia showed a larger increase.

It isn’t always the younger generation that lives with an older one. In total, 13% of Czechs share housing with family members of another generation. Most often they are their own parents. 52%. or, on the contrary, with already grown children, 32%, the Wüstenrot study stated.

More than one-fifth of the inhabitants of multi-generation houses share a household with two generations distant relatives such as grandchildren or grandparents. And 18% live with their partner’s parents.

“People resort to housing with relatives both for solidarity between generations and for addressing current and long-term housing needs. The indisputable advantage of this arrangement is the proximity to the family and the advantageous distribution of housing costs, which can result in the inhabitants saving hundreds of thousands of crowns per year,” Jiří Procházka, product manager of the Wüstenrot financial group, said in a press release.

Almost half of the respondents, 48%, live in a multi-generation house, mainly because they cannot afford their own housing. In addition, 36% said they could not afford a mortgage, and 20% cannot find a suitable apartment or house to buy regardless of finance. The lack of schools or other necessities in the area where people want to live was given as a reason by 17%.

Despite the fact that the majority of multi-generational cohabitation is a necessity, 70% of such residents say that they will live permanently with relatives.

Czech families also help each other through shared housing. Most often, family members advise and discuss matters around the house (45%), physically assist in house work (38%), or use common family savings (18%) to cover housing costs. Only 16% of respondents say that family members living with them do not help at all.

“Czechs are especially willing to help with counseling or physical work in adjusting or renovating the house, or with money from joint savings. But they don’t touch their own pockets so often. Guaranteeing a loan and paying the cost of housing to another family member is an exception in the Czech Republic,” Procházka said.

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The Housing and Finance Survey was conducted for Wüstenrot by the independent research agency Ipsos. Data was collected online in November and December 2019 and with 1,000 respondents aged 18-99 and normalized for gender, age, place and size of residence, and education.

The rise in housing prices has been linked to a lack of new supply on the market, as well as many flats in cities being taken up for short-term rentals for tourists. Developers blame the high amount of red tape needed to get building permits for the slow addition of new housing stock.

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