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Old 02-01-2010, 06:15 AM
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
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Originally Posted by yankinscotland View Post
That's a broad statement. Who's is living in all the houses if all the middle class are in flats? We live in a house in the UK, as do 95% of the people in our area.
From my experience that is how I have seen it. However I do see many more homes in the UK then in say Spain or Italy. The UK does have more people living in houses then other European countries.
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:53 AM
Location: Aurora, Colorado
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We lived in Germany for 3 years and lived in a basement apartment in a new home that was occupied upstairs by a family with children and grandparents. The house was very nice and in a new construction area. Our landlords were a man who was a landscaper and his wife, a homemaker. They had 3 children and their elderly parents lived with them. The house was very nice, very large and very modern.

I remember very clearly wondering how they could ever afford such luxuries (they had very nice cars, nice clothes, obviously a very nice, expensive home). We were talking about finances one day and the landlady mentioned that they bought the house with a 100-year mortgage. I wanted her to clarify (her English was excellent, but 100-year mortgage?). Yes...her family bought that house fully intending it to be the "family house" where her kids would live when they were grown, and her kids would take over the mortgage. Europeans don't think anything of generations living together. Because our landlords were able to build their house, they planned it to be one large house with 4 different "apartments" inside.

Perhaps this isn't how all European countries work, but at least for our landlords, this is how they did it. Apparently it isn't that uncommon. Google 100 year mortgages and you'll bring up lots of articles on 100 year mortgages in Europe and Japan.
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:03 AM
Location: Aurora, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Dane_in_LA View Post
The huge US-style house has never really kicked in in Europe.
Absolutely correct. It's not about square footage in Europe and they have a totally different lifestyle and expectations than we have here.

When we lived in Germany, we had a very small kitchen with hardly any storage, a tiny refrigerator and one bathroom. It was considered a very nice apartment.

In America, it's usually all about the square footage, number of bathrooms and lots of wasted space (the average American family uses their formal dining room twice a year, rarely uses the much heralded master bathroom "soaking tub" and uses their formal living rooms rarely, if ever).

At least for my European friends, they don't have rooms for "show"...everything is used to it's fullest. It's the reason IKEA is a European brand...most pieces are for storage and maximizing living space. No one I know in Europe (from Germans to Dutch to Italian and English) has a master bathroom. Most have one bathroom (perhaps an additional 1/2 bath which would be considered a luxury) for the entire house. I know that they just don't even think about it...it's not like they are saying "oh, I wish I had an extra bathroom". They probably didn't have one when they were growing up and don't think anything of not having one now.

When our Dutch friends came to visit us a few years ago, they couldn't believe how huge our house was (it wasn't...1900 square feet, 4 bedrooms and 2 baths) and all of the storage space we had in the kitchen, as well as marveling over the walk-in closets...unheard of in Europe where everyone has a "wardrobe".

I'm not saying one way is better than another, but if you're talking about a standard family home, the definition and layout is vastly different between America and Europe.
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:59 PM
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Europeans don't have to spend $1,000+ per month for health insurance, or pay deductibles for medical care, or fall into a "donut hole," or pay for anything medical that might not be "covered." In come countries, college education is also free, so they don't have student loans to pay back.

Think about it: If you didn't have to pay $1,000+ a month for health insurance, plus a $2500 deductible, plus uncovered medical expenses, plus student loan payments, you could afford a house in Europe, too.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:34 PM
Location: Victoria TX
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After reading 24 replies, I have still not seen anyone address the original question.

I do think, though, that there is a disjunct in terms of reference. In the US, a 100K house simply does not exist in a lot of urban areas, and if it does, it is in a horrible neighborhood. In some small towns in the US there are 100K houses, but not all towns. At lest 90% of all Americans live in metropolitan areas where there are no "suitable" houses for less than about 250K. You can't compare a little bungalow in a low income neighborhood of a Texas Panhandle town, with a home for a middle-class family in Paris or Rome.

I just ran an amortization calculator on a 100-year mortgage. The interest would be 81% of the payments. Why would anybody do that? For a 250K mortgage, the payments would be $1,050 a month. But for 40 years, the payments would be only $1,200 a month, followed by 60 years (two or three generations of grandchildren) with no payments at all.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:26 AM
Location: Sebastian/ FL
3,496 posts, read 8,703,585 times
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Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
I've been checking out how the rest of the world lives - France, Greece and Italy especially, and it seems to me that housing is CONSIDERABLY more expensive there than in the United States.

Houses that would cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars here, are twice as much (or more) in Europe. We're not talking super deluxe accommodations here, folks. I mean simple houses - a couple of bedrooms, a bath or two and a modest kitchen. Often, these houses have no yard!

What I want to know is how people who live in these countries afford to pay for these houses. How does the "average person" in Greece afford to buy a house that costs the equivalent of $500,000 pay for it? I KNOW that everyone in France, Italy and Greece cannot possibly make the kind of money that can afford that kind of house. I am really perplexed by this.

Can someone who has been there often, or lived there in the past explain how this works? If these houses are only for the wealthy, where does the average man live? Honestly, I saw houses in Greece that were UNINHABITABLE that cost over $100,000! If houses that are uninhabitable cost that much, where are people living?

Thanks for the info.

That was/ is the original thread question.
I think members on here, including myself, HAVE given facts, as well as theories on the answer to the question.
I like the "outside of the box thinking" of re-searching a 100 year mortgage !
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