Brownfield Sites Are No Cure for Housing Blues

Sofia - Cities across CEE are struggling to build enough affordable homes for their populations.

A wave of old industrial sites is now about to be transformed into new neighbourhoods, though how much these will help house-poor locals is debatable.

Across Central and Eastern Europe, it’s becoming a luxury to buy a home, especially in the region’s capital cities. With prices inflated by low levels of new housing supply, keen speculation, and rising materials prices, increasingly few can afford to buy a flat in Budapest, Prague or Sofia. And with rental prices following suit, it’s becoming a real challenge for many locals, especially the younger generations, to find anywhere to lay their hat.

Amid this maelstrom, huge former industrial sites in city centres are set to be transformed into new neighbourhoods. But how much help these giant projects will offer is debatable, as the desperate need for new housing, and policy issues past and present, hold back the ability of the cities to reap the potential benefits in the form of low-cost housing, or control the final form of these new districts.

📷 Central Group: Huge projects are due to deliver new neighbourhoods in Prague


Budapest-based journalist experienced in business issues related to climate change, urbanism and social questions.

A Prague-based journalist writing for international media on politics, economics and social issues in Central Europe.