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It’s Not Just America—the Rent Is High Everywhere

Tenants in Canada and Spain devote a big chunk of pay to housing, too.
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Photographer: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg

The make-up of a country’s housing market is decided by a wide variety of factors, including history, culture, and financial regulation. In the Netherlands, for instance, roughly 30 percent of housing stock is owned by nonprofit cooperatives, while the hallmark of a U.S. home and the erstwhile American Dream is the 30-year mortgage. In countries such as Italy and Spain, it’s common for multiple generations to live in a family home.

While the ways in which people lay claim to their abodes varies as you spin the globe, there’s increasingly one thing housing markets do have in common: For those who pay rent, the rent is often way too high.