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Old 01-15-2010, 08:44 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,847 posts, read 30,345,392 times
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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.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:13 PM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
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I can only relate to you what was the case for us when we lived and worked in Germany, but it may be similar in those other countries you mentioned.

I do not think that *our house* was super expensive compared to something similar in the USA, and we lived in the *hoity toity* area of Bavaria.

One must take into account that the house was a renovated farmers house (natural woods inside and out, and all the modern amenities you can think of), close to 3500 sq ft, two story, four bedrooms, three full baths, two car garage. It was located on a 2 acre plot. Fully landscaped. Incredible view on almost all sides.

We rented it for 1700* usd a month and was later sold for 365,000* usd (*equivalents). That may sound expensive, but we had the income level to *afford* it.

My opinion is that a similar house, like we had there, should have then be located in Aspen, CO or Deer Valley, UT or some other rich neighbourhood, simply because of the size of the house and the surroundings we were in.
I drive the kids around the mountain, to go skiing, and they could ski home ....

One also must take into account that the ratio of single homes versus apartment buildings (townhomes and the lot), was rather low. Very few single dwellings, but umpteen apartment complexes or town homes.

So if you saw some dilapidated homes selling for a fortune, where were those places located ?
I can only justify high prices with superior location. At least where we lived.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:01 AM
 
Location: Saint Louis, MO
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My boyfriend lived in Germany for a year for work. He said most of the partners at his firm (ie: the people making craploads of money) owned a place not much bigger than his back in St Louis (he owns what most would consider a "starter home" here, a 3 bd ranch).
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:38 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,350,632 times
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Many of these European houses are inherited. Outside of whatever the property taxes are, often the occupant paid nothing for the house.

In Europe, life is not lived in the house as much as it is in the US. One may have a small flat, but outside of sleeping and other ocassional hours, one spends much time out in the community rather than in the flat. Therefore the smaller space is less of a problem because you're often out somewhere else doing something fun (unlike the US).

I'd sooner have a $400,000 cramped flat in Europe than the same priced 5,000 sq. ft. McMansion in some godforsaken suburb in America where there is absolutely nothing to do.

I'll take the fun over the granite counter tops and walk-in closets seven days a week.
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Old 01-16-2010, 05:03 AM
 
4,899 posts, read 16,618,002 times
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no insurance payments for medical---add up what you pay here in the US for medical insurance and medicine, hospitalization etc.
it used to drive me crazy because i have family in Italy and most households have only 1 person working and supporting a family of 4-5....and my DH and i had NO kids and were working 1-2 jobs each.
BUT most of them have never been on a "vacation". they have had day trips etc, but dont really travel.
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Old 01-16-2010, 05:53 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,909,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
Many of these European houses are inherited. Outside of whatever the property taxes are, often the occupant paid nothing for the house.

In Europe, life is not lived in the house as much as it is in the US. One may have a small flat, but outside of sleeping and other ocassional hours, one spends much time out in the community rather than in the flat. Therefore the smaller space is less of a problem because you're often out somewhere else doing something fun (unlike the US).
What Azoria says is my understanding, and Findinghope's post about health insurance as well.
My kid has been living in France for a couple years now, first in Rouen, now Paris.
He and his girlfriend share a tiny (and I do mean tiny!) flat.
They both work hard, but they play hard, too. There is a lot to do over there. They travel regularly, eat well, go out at night and *enjoy* life. They get 3 weeks paid vacation a year.
My kid owns a scooter, not a car. It's just a different way of life.

Last edited by BlueWillowPlate; 01-16-2010 at 06:31 AM.. Reason: the eternal typo
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:43 AM
 
14,253 posts, read 15,324,963 times
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When I lived in Geneva, Switzerland, I rented as did most people. The economics of buying a home simply did not add up. I had a 1100 sq. ft. flat right in the centre of Geneva on the top floor of the block with full length balconies back and front. My rent was about 15% of my gross income which I felt was reasonable. I kept my car in the office parking lot (free) because I never used it in Geneva. I could walk everywhere or use public transport when needed. The car was for out of town use only.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:08 PM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,326 posts, read 11,041,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by findinghope View Post
no insurance payments for medical---add up what you pay here in the US for medical insurance and medicine, hospitalization etc.
I think you must to take all those *amenities* (mentioned above) into account, to fully understand how it all works there. We received *child support* even though I do not think we *needed it*. In Germany it was called *Kindergeld*, and it comes to a sizable sum because the first one gets only so much and then it increases substantially with the amount of kids you have (by the time you have eight, no more taxes to be paid ...). Personal opinion is that if they do not give some kind of incentive to have a family (family = meaning with kids), Europe will breed themselves into oblivion......
Quote:
Originally Posted by findinghope View Post
BUT most of them have never been on a "vacation". they have had day trips etc, but dont really travel.
I have to figure out what you really mean here, since I find that Europeans are more apt to go on vacation then USA inhabitants. In our case, I had a total of 6 weeks off (I did not have to wait for my 10 year tenure in order to get more then 10 working days off, as in the USA). This included all the national and religious holidays, you get off *by law*. Then I received *vacation pay*, which is *in addition* to my regular pay .... ( I could not believe it when I first received it ...).
So not so sure what you mean by *but don't really travel* ?

LBNL, I can understand why so many posters here, ask about how to get to Europe, and *enjoy* life there for a while .....
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:09 PM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,569,470 times
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A lot of friends and relatives I know basically have life long mortgages or have had property passed down through the generations.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:19 PM
 
2,024 posts, read 2,986,054 times
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It's misleading to convert the price of a house in Europe to dollars. You'd need to convert the owner's salary to dollars as well to get a fair comparison. Exchange rates change all the time as well.

For instance, our home in Scotland would sell for about 250K GBP. At the present time that would convert to $407K. However, a couple of years ago when rates were 2 to 1 you'd say our house was worth $500K. Misleading.
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