Most Germans don’t buy their homes, they rent. Here’s why

Quartz

It’s just a fact. Many Germans can’t be bothered to buy a house.

The country’s homeownership rate ranks among the lowest in the developed world, and nearly dead last in Europe, though the Swiss rent even more. Here are comparative data from 2004, the last time the OECD updated its numbers. (Fresh comparisons are tough to find, as some countries only publish homeownership rates every few years or so.)

And though those data are old, we know Germany’s homeownership rate remains quite low. It was 43% in 2013.

This may seem strange. Isn’t home ownership a crucial cog to any healthy economy? Well, as Germany shows—and Gershwin wrote—it ain’t necessarily so.

In Spain, around 80% of people live in owner-occupied housing. (Yay!) But unemployment is nearly 27%, thanks to the burst of a giant housing bubble. (Ooof.)

Only 43% own their home in Germany, where unemployment is 5.2%.

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