With the demographic wave that was about to wash over Europe, the age structure of the population was changing. In short, there was a decline in the number of potential employees, and an increase in the number of people aged 65 years or more. In addition, the declining birth rate in Central and Eastern European countries meant that the population was aging. In 2010, the average age of the population in the region was 35.6 years, rising to 40.8 by 2030. This is reflected in the fact that the proportion of people aged 65 and above is rising in all countries in the region. In Poland, for example, the number of people aged 65 and above is projected to increase by more than 100% by 2030, with the proportion of people aged 65 and older accounting for 19.4% of the population. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the number of people aged 65 and over will increase by between 20% and 30% by 2030. The impact of the demographic wave on the housing market is already being felt: as people live longer, they demand more services, including housing, and demand services including housing. Services are consumed rather than produced. The number of pensioners is expanding. Most of these people live in private housing in their old age, but as they live longer, their need for housing increases. For example, in Poland in the year 2000, there were about 10,000 people over 75 years old who lived in social housing and about 3,000 people who lived in assisted housing. In 2016, there were around 14,000 people over 75 years old in social housing, and about 7,000 in assisted housing. This growth is projected to continue. If nothing is done, the population age profile will become more and more like the age profile in Western Europe, with the number of pensioners rising to 10% of the population by 2050. In this case, the elderly would need more housing, and the younger generations, less. In the present situation, housing provision for the elderly is being curtailed. But as the ageing population grows, the demand for housing services will increase. In short, the demographic wave is a double-edged sword: as workers in the future will be more and more pensioners, the demand for housing services will increase. On the other hand, the already-existing older population will also demand more services, and the generation of young people will have less need for housing services. In the present situation, the curbing of housing provision for the elderly is a safeguard.
In addition to the governance vacuum, it is worth noting that the strong wave of speculation in local housing markets in the late 1990s-early 2000s also played a role in local market dynamics. Speculators often bought land for speculation purposes, and subsequently developed their property for resale in the private housing market. This development was unregulated, and the property market became a “wild west” with little public supervision. The social value of the land thus became commodified. The development of land for speculation purposes, however, was only possible with a strong financial system, which was not present in the countries of transition. 827ec27edc