News release

New era of European Living: Changing lifestyles, rising costs and delayed life milestones reshape real estate market across Europe

Shrinking household sizes and growth of student and retirement sectors are placing increasing pressure on urban hubs

September 05, 2019

London, 5 September 2019  - Changing lifestyle patterns, growing affordability pressures and delayed life milestones are transforming the property landscape in cities across Europe, according to JLL’s new European City Dynamics research. Socio-economic shifts, including a growing cohort of students and elderly in urban hubs, have kick-started a new era of Living on the continent.

Whilst continued urbanisation is making city populations rise, modern social patterns are causing a significant shift towards smaller properties. Single person households in European capital cities are 6.8% higher than in their respective countries – in part driven by increases in the average age of marriage and parenthood[1].

Higher education is also on the rise across Europe’s major countries. Spain reports one of the highest tertiary education enrolment rates at 91.2%, up from 57.6% at the turn of the millennium. With a preference for hospitality-lite accommodation in city-centre locations and high amenity provision, these rising student numbers are growing the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) market, as is visible in cities such as Barcelona.

Property expectations set in student years are influencing accommodation choices for young and middle-age professionals. More than 60% of urban Europeans now live in flats; a trend fueled by both lifestyle preferences and economic pressures. An average 1 in 8 households are deemed overburdened, spending more than 40% of their income on housing costs. Chronic undersupply, coupled with house prices and rents increasing above earnings growth, is making the urban affordability crisis more acute.

Phil Wedge-Bernal, EMEA Living Research & Strategy Associate, JLL said: Developers and operators are facing growing demand for more varied housing solutions. Shifting population dynamics and affordability pressures across Europe mean that people are looking for a wider range of Living products that suit smaller households and lifestyle needs. Fast-emerging Coliving and Multifamily sectors offer solutions to these challenges.”

The spectrum of Living products is becoming harmonised across Europe’s largest countries and cities. Germany, for example, is introducing new retirement living products to complement a relatively mature multifamily and student sector, whilst Spain is growing in multifamily and student assets.

Adam Challis, Head of EMEA Living Research & Strategy commented: “Modern housing needs to evolve to meet the new era of Living in Europe, because it is critical to support current and future urban populations. Progress is already underway, with permissions for multi-dwelling buildings rising by nearly 31% since 2015.

The over-65 European demographic requires particular attention, as it is set to increase by 22 million by 2030. Whilst cities are not ageing as quickly as out-of-city locations, there is a significant opportunity for operators, developers and investors to plan and develop solutions now, to ensure this growing cohort is accommodated in our increasingly diversified future urban environments.”

[1]According to JLL data, the average age of marriage is 29 (up from 27 ten years ago), the average age of first-time motherhood is 31 (up from 30 ten years ago), and the number of households with no children is 71% (up 3% from ten years ago).

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. Our vision is to reimagine the world of real estate, creating rewarding opportunities and amazing spaces where people can achieve their ambitions. In doing so, we will build a better tomorrow for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $16.3 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of nearly 92,000 as of June 30, 2019. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated.