By Tony Paterson and John Lichfield
Englishmen may see themselves as king of their own castles, but the fact that Europe largely did away with its monarchies many years ago does not necessarily explain why those on the Continent are happier to rent, even if the situation is starting to change.
Germany has the greatest proportion of home-renters in Europe, and Germans still prefer to rent accommodation rather than own it. Only 39 per cent of the population own the homes that they live in compared with about 60 per cent in Britain. But that pattern is changing. Berlin is experiencing a boom in property buying: hundreds of recently renovated, turn-of-the-last-century apartments are being snapped up by wealthy Germans.