It’s possibly slightly ironic that with so many people losing their homes in Spain, a recent study carried out by the European Central Bank has revealed that the Spanish own more second homes than practically every other European nation.

In actual fact, 36.2% of the Spanish population has a second residence and are only surpassed by Cyprus (51.6%) and Greece (37.9%) – two other countries that have almost gone bankrupt in the economic crisis.

Compare these figures to Holland where only 6.1% of the population owns a holiday home.

Other European countries where owning a second residence does not rate highly include Austria (13.4%), Slovakia (15.3%) and Germany (17.8%). Even the French and Italians have relatively fewer holiday homes than the Spanish with 24.7% and 24.9% respectively.

First residence

The study also looks at how many main-residence homeowners no longer have anything to pay on their mortgage and how many still have mortgage repayments to make.

The European average is that 60% of people live in their own home and 40% rent.

Of the 60% that own their own home, 40.7% do not owe any money, whilst the remaining 19.4% are still repaying their mortgage.

In Spain, 55.9% of homeowners no longer have to make any payments on their home, and the other 26.8% are still paying off their mortgage.

However, in total 83% of the population opts to buy their own home rather than to rent. This is an extremely high percentage in comparison to other Europeans and is only surpassed by Slovakia where 90% of residents own their own home.


Naturally, these two nations also have the lowest figures for the number of people that rent – 17.3% and 18.2% respectively.

In other European countries the percentage of people who rent their home is much higher:

Germany: 55.8%

Austria: 52.3%

France: 44.7%

Holland: 42.9%

The reasons for deciding on whether to rent or buy a property are very much to do with the culture of the country, tradition, government policy, tax breaks etc.