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Polish citizens struggle to buy or rent property with rising cost of living

Warsaw
Warsaw Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Magdalena Chodownik
Published on Updated
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A two-person flat to rent in Warsaw costs around 3,300zł (or €735.31) today. Currently, the minimum wage is 3,490zł gross (€777.68).

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In Poland, there is a growing number of people who cannot afford to pay their rent or buy their own flat. High inflation as well as the war in Ukraine are the main factors.

For context, a two-person flat to rent in Warsaw costs around 3,300zł (or €735.31) today. Currently, the minimum wage is 3,490zł gross (€777.68).

"A lot of apartments available on the market for rent are priced higher than the income that the tenants can provide. So, the actual problem is that a lot of them cannot afford both to feed their families and to pay the rent. So, in a normal situation, the government would step in with some offer of social housing," Zenobia Zaczek, from the Polish Committee for the Protection of Tenants' Rights, explained to Euronews.

"The problem is that many of them simply do not qualify [for] social housing and they cannot afford housing on the private market."

One of the people Zaczek helps is Iwona, a restaurant worker who has taken over an empty city-owned apartment with her partner and three children.

"The former owners [of the apartment] told us to move out of the apartment because they were getting divorced and were selling the apartment," she said.

"We were looking for a flat to rent but the prices went up so much that we had no money [to pay the rent] ... but that's another reason: [people] don't want to rent to couples with children."

Iwona's case is not unusual. Zaczek said she deals with five to ten cases like this every week.   

Poland's Ministry of Economic Development pointed out that high housing prices reflected the general trend of rising prices around the world.

It's preparing aid programs, such as preferential housing loans, with the hopes that the trend will stabilise.

"If we have an average inflation of 14 per cent in 2022, it would be difficult for similar factors that affect this entire inflation basket not to affect property prices as well," Minister Waldemar Buda said.

The rise in prices is not just affecting housing in Poland. Food, energy and basic services have all seen prices hikes, without an increase in salaries.

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