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The macroeconomy is a key factor in housing affordability

Affordable housing is one of the most widespread social aims of the housing policies in Europe. Although several definitions of the term exist in the research and academic communities, ‘affordable housing’ simply means that the ratio of housing cost to household income is not more than an arbitrary ceiling of 30% to 35%. This ratio is influenced by two main factors: the local housing market (including rent, mortgage interest rates and house prices), and the local labour market and the pension system (essentially, earning opportunities). Due to these factors, we face very different types of affordability problems across Europe. In London, a young professional couple pays 45% of their i