The FINANCIAL -- In 2015, households in the European Union (EU) devoted nearly a quarter of their total consumption expenditure to "housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels".
This represents a total spending of almost €2 000 bn (equivalent to 13.4% of EU GDP) and is by far the most significant expenditure of EU households. This is also the expenditure item whose share increased the most significantly over the last decade, from 22.5% of total household expenditure in 2005 to 24.4% in 2015 (or +1.9 percentage points). Similar trends can be observed in an overwhelming majority of the EU Member States, albeit to different extents.
Large shares of total household consumption expenditure were also spent on transport (13.0% of total expenditure), on food and non-alcoholic beverages (12.3%), on miscellaneous goods and services (11.5%) such as financial services, insurance and personal care, on recreation and culture as well as on restaurants and hotels (both 8.5%), while other types of expenditure were less important.
Weight of household expenditure on housing highest in Denmark and Finland, lowest in Malta
In a large majority of EU Member States, "housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels" represents the first item of household expenditure. In 2015, households devoted the largest share of their total expenditure to housing in Denmark (29.4%) and Finland (28.2%), followed by France (26.4%), Sweden (26.0%), the Czech Republic (25.9%) and the United Kingdom (25.6%).
At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest proportion of household expenditure spent on housing was registered by far in Malta (10.1%), ahead of Lithuania (15.8%), Cyprus (16.6%), Estonia (18.0%), Bulgaria (in 2014), Portugal and Slovenia (all 18.8%) as well as Hungary (19.1%).
Share of housing expenditure increased the most in Spain, Ireland and Portugal
Between 2005 and 2015, the share of "housing water, electricity, gas and other fuels" in total household expenditure grew in a vast majority of Member States. In particular, the most remarkable increases over this 10- year time period were recorded in Spain (from 17.4% of total household expenditure in 2005 to 23.0% in 2015, or a rise by 5.6 percentage points – pp), Ireland (+5.0 pp) and Portugal (+4.5 pp), followed by the Netherlands (+3.8 pp), Finland (+3.6 pp), Italy and Latvia (both +3.3 pp) as well as Denmark (+3.1 pp).
In contrast, the share of "housing water, electricity, gas and other fuels" in total household expenditure slightly dropped between 2005 and 2015 in Slovakia (from 26.2% in 2005 to 24.9% in 2015, or a decrease by 1.3 pp), Sweden (-1.0 pp), Malta (-0.9 pp), Poland (-0.7 pp), Germany (-0.4 pp) and Slovenia (-0.1 pp), while it remained stable in Estonia.