With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for home owners.
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As a citizen of the European Union, you have the right not only to live, work, study and do business anywhere in the EU, but also to buy property. Two-thirds of Europeans own their own home; some of them are still paying back a loan or mortgage, while others own their home entirely. Those who have finished paying their mortgage spend less on housing, so it is quite understandable to want to buy your own home, not only to live in but also as a means of saving money.
The two main difficulties you will face when buying a house in another EU country concern understanding the legal environment for residential property and financing the purchase. The EU is working to make it easier and safer for you to do both by funding initiatives such as CROBECO and IMOLA, which aim to increase transparency around and information about the real estate market and to harmonise land registries. In addition, the Mortgage Credit Directive is helping to open up the mortgage market in the EU.
Once you own your home, you will need to pay property taxes. In the absence of EU-wide tax rules, you will need to make sure with the authorities of both the country where you are tax-resident and the country where you are buying a property which laws apply and what taxes you need to pay, and where. Fortunately, most countries have signed bilateral agreements destined to avoid double taxation, so you will only have to pay the tax once.
- European Parliament, study ‘Cross Border Acquisitions of Residential Property in the EU: Problems Encountered by Citizens’, 2016, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2016/556936/IPOL_STU(2016)556936_EN.pdf
- Housing statistics, http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Housing_statistics
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