In 2014, housing costs accounted for 16.1 per cent of household disposable income, whereas in 2015 this proportion has fell down to 15.2 per cent. It may be related to the fact that household disposable income grew faster (by 9.3 per cent) than housing costs, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.
In 2015, housing costs per household member on average comprised EUR 59, whereas in a single person household they on average accounted for EUR 103. As the number of household members increases, housing costs per household member decrease (from EUR 66 in two-person households down to EUR 31 in five and more person households). The housing cost burden is directly dependent upon the number of household members as well. For example, in single person households housing costs account for 24.5 per cent of household disposable income, while in four person households – almost twice less (12.6 per cent).
In 2015, for couples with children housing costs on average comprised EUR 218 monthly, while households consisting of one adult with children spent EUR 159 monthly. Housing costs in single person households were notably lower: in single person aged under 64 households those were EUR 118 monthly and in single person aged over 65 households – EUR 90 monthly. It may be explained by the fact that persons aged over 65 are thriftier, they use less public utilities (water, electricity, etc.) and live in dwellings with lower housing costs, since disposable income of such persons are by EUR 231 lower than the disposable income of persons aged under 64. Moreover, persons aged over 65 most often live in dwellings owned by them or subsidised by local government, whereas housing costs of persons aged under 64 often include rent, mortgage payments etc.
In 2015, housing costs in 33.9 per cent of households were heavy burden – a drop of 6.1 percentage points, compared to 2014 (40.0 per cent). The share of households admitting that housing costs are somewhat a burden has increased – from 45.5 per cent in 2014 to 47.7 per cent in 2015. Each fifth or 18.4 of the households admits that housing costs are not burden at all (in 2014 – 14.5 per cent).
Housing costs for couples with children accounted for 15.2 per cent of the disposable income thereof. Moreover, 25.9 per cent of those households admitted that housing costs are not burden at all. Whereas in households consisting of one adult with children housing costs comprised 24.1 per cent of the disposable income. Just 14.3 per cent of those households admitted that housing costs are not burden at all.
In 2015, 50.4 per cent of single elderly persons (aged 65 and over) indicated that housing costs are a heavy burden. Moreover, they spent 29 per cent of the disposable income thereof to cover housing costs; in percentage it is almost twice the average indicator in the country. Housing costs were a heavy burden also for large share of single-parent families (42.4 per cent) and households consisting of couple with three and more children (35.5 per cent).
Regardless single elderly (aged over 65) had the greatest difficulty in covering housing costs, only 9.1 of them had been in arrears on utility bills during the last 12 months. The highest number of persons being in arrears on utility bills was recorded among households consisting of single adult with children (32.8 per cent) and couples with three or more children (28.2 per cent).