Country Listing

Czechoslovakia Table of Contents



Planners continued to make efforts to remedy the longstanding housing shortage in rural and urban regions alike. Since statistics did not always provide a comparison between the numbers of households and existing housing units, the housing deficit remained difficult to gauge. A comparison of the number of marriages annually and construction of new 1 housing units between 1960 and 1975 shows that construction exceeded marriages only in 1975. The deficit was most acute in the 1960s, when an average of housing units was built for every 10 marriages; in 1985 the ratio rose to an average of 8.8 units per 10 marriages.

This approximation underestimated the housing deficit: it ignored divorces, the number of extended families living together who would have preferred separate housing, and the decay of old housing (see The Family , this ch.). Even waiting lists underestimated how inadequate housing was in the 1980s. Separate housing for single adults had such a low priority with planners that single adults found it difficult even to get on a housing list.

One of the factors contributing to the housing shortage was the low construction rate of rental housing. Major reasons for this were high inflation, high construction costs, and low (heavily subsidized) rents. In 1985 the average building cost for apartments rose to Kcs2,523 per square meter, and the average monthly rent--for the seventh consecutive year--was Kcs358 (for value of the koruna--see Glossary). Construction of individual homes peaked in 1977 at 40,107 and decreased to 29,608 in 1985. Building a home privately was possible, but acquiring labor and materials was difficult and sometimes risky; it often meant borrowing machinery illegally or paying bribes for materials.

Despite substantial gains in the 1970s, Czechoslovakia entered the 1980s with a housing shortage that was likely to take years to remedy. In 1986 the government announced a slight cutback in new housing construction for the 1986-90 housing plan, further aggravating the situation.

Data as of August 1987