How do Polish women and men live? Where are we experiencing a real housing boom, and where are we barely making ends meet. What is the standard today, and what is slowly becoming it? These questions were tried to be answered in the report "I would live. What do Poles expect from a home?".
The discussion of housing is among the important elements that determine public life. Rising real estate prices, the cost of mortgages, the inadequate base of local government housing for rent or the often poor quality falling into the concept of "pat-development" does not inspire positively. In Poland, we still feel we are late on this subject. What does it look like from the statistical side?
The report was compiled by think tank ThinkCo in cooperation with companies such as Ikea, Spravia and Otodom. ThinkCo were also authors of the report "Happy Home. A city good for living," which we discussed on A&B. The aim of the report was to present the housing market in Poland from the perspective of the quantitative state, but also the needs behind what we call good housing.
We like to think that housing has always been important to society. In fact, the importance of the home as a social good was negligible almost until the end of the 19th century. Today, after more than 100 years of housing experiments, we have many good and bad decisions behind us. Over those few generations, we learned that we need not only a place to sleep, a bathroom and a kitchen, but also access to greenery, light and hygiene. Then we noticed that we want to feel private and safe where we live. And over the last decade or so, we have come to understand the importance of locality and proximity to services in the immediate area, Tomesz Bojeć of ThinkCo.
Where are we from and where are we going? Poland against the background of Europe
What is the housing situation in Europe? Almost half of the population (46%) lives in multifamily housing, with the same rate in cities much higher (72%). Europe also has reason to work on improving housing conditions - the cost to EU economies of living in inadequate conditions by some Europeans is nearly €194 billion. As analysts point out in the report, the cost of fixing the problem would be recouped within 18 months through savings in health care costs and better social outcomes.
Percentage of people living in overcrowded housing
The average number of rooms per person in Poland is 1.2, compared to 1.6 rooms in the EU. In terms of the number of apartments, Poland compares almost tragically with Europe. In 2019, the housing needs index was 386, ranking far outside the top. Poland also performs poorly when it comes to budget spending on housing. It is only 0.08% of GDP, compared to the EU average of 0.5%.
Poland compares favorably with the EU in terms of housing standards. Only 1.4% of the country's residents lived in a dwelling without a private toilet - a result well below the average. In Poland, more than 80% of citizens live in owner-occupied units, while the EU average is 70%.
Number of housing units completed in 2020 per 1,000 residents
how does one live in Poland?
More than half of Polish women and men live in single-family houses (more than 5 million buildings), while there are more than 10 million apartments in multi-family buildings (more than 500,000 buildings). We rely heavily on communist construction, as more than 7 million units were built in the 1945-1989 period.
How has the average area of apartments and single-family homes in new construction changed over the past decade? Apartments in multifamily buildings shrank by 9.5% between 2011 and 2022, from 57.6 to 52.6 square meters. Single-family homes faced an even bigger cut, by 12%, from 150 to 133 square meters.
Average area of apartments in new buildings
The biggest disparity is between large and small centers. Provincial cities with adjacent counties are home to 36% of Poland's population. However, 57% of newly completed apartments in general in 2021 are located in these centers. In addition, 72% of multifamily buildings are located in these cities. As much as 38% of new housing is built in five agglomerations (Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Poznan and the Tri-City).
Basic data on housing in Poland over the years
What do we look for in our environment and how do we feel about our homes?
In addition to assessing the housing stock, how we feel in our cities is also important, as elaborated in the report "Happy Home. A City Good for Living," which is an important complement to this document. You can read a summary of the highlights from the "Happy Home" report on our website.
When it comes to satisfaction with where they live, as many as 79% of Polish women and men are satisfied with their home. In a survey conducted by Think Tank, as many as 90% of respondents indicated their apartment as a place where they can relax, although only 6% of respondents would not like to make any changes to their home.
What are we guided by when decorating interiors? First and foremost, practical solutions and functionality (87%), only then do we place emphasis on aesthetics and style of finish (58%), quality of materials and furnishings (57%) and, ultimately, price (40%).
How has the pandemic changed us?
What's also interesting is that during the pandemic, 60% of respondents rearranged their interiors to reconcile the need for work and rest. Only 35% of respondents felt that their home allowed them to work and study comfortably.
During the pandemic, for 50% of respondents the importance of having a balcony, terrace or garden increased. We began to pay attention to more opportunities to be outside the apartment. Unfortunately, only 58% believe that his place of residence has a positive impact on his well-being.
where we work at home
Environmentalism is not just an empty phrase in the context of how we furnish our homes. Among the most important environmental elements that respondents pay attention to are heating costs (93%), air quality (92%), the presence of greenery in the neighborhood (91%) or the use of non-toxic finishing materials (88%).
One in three respondents is willing to pay more for the use of environmentally friendly materials when building an apartment. Paying environmental costs is easier for residents of the largest cities.
what do we expect from a green apartment?
The report "I would live. What do Poles expect from a home?" rightly allows us to note trends in the real estate industry - the direction of residents' needs, the growth of metropolitan areas and the stagnation of smaller towns, what we are looking for as we move to remote work, and which way we should go with housing policy if we finally take the issue seriously.
The entire report is available on the ThinkCo website.