Here in Britain, we are always told how well-off we are, and what a wealthy country we live in, and perhaps when you look at the general statistics, it may even be true, on average. But averages can be very misleading. In this well-off country, most of the wealth is owned by a tiny minority of people. The rest of us are just fighting over the scraps, and are not well-off at all. Sure, we have some advantages, like some welfare state, lots of gadgets we can’t afford in the shops, and so on, but can we afford to pay the bills? Nope. Can the country afford facilities like good education, healthcare, libraries and so on? Less so than in the past, is my impression.
An average house in this country costs £160,000 (€192,000) and the median wage is about £26,000, (€32,000) or 1/6th of the price of the house.
We think of the Southern European countries as being relatively poor (an out-of-date idea, but it is common here). Let’s see what they are like in these terms. Gross averages are hard to find online for some of these, but here’s what I’ve been able to dig up, based on a (small) 60sq.m property as a cheapish rough guide.
Bulgaria – average house price is under €50,000, average income €2,200 (22:1)
Greece – average city centre house price €296,000, average wage €8,400 (35:1)
Italy – houses €420,000, wages €30,000 (14:1)
Spain – houses €240,000, wages €24,000 (10:1)
On the same basis as these, though, a 60sq.m UK house would be €900,000, representing a ratio of 4.6:1 compared with the average wage. OK… well, on the basis of those figures, houses in the UK are actually relatively affordable for the natives. On the other hand, some of those European houses are far more affordable for a Brit than for the natives…
In which case… it’s time to move! And get some darned sunshine for a change.