Inadequate housing has been a serious problem since World War II. Romanian housing suffered from the 1940 earthquake, war damage, neglect, and inadequate repair and maintenance after the war. An increase in the urban population caused by industrialization and emphasis on capital construction exacerbated the problem. Since 1965, the government has encouraged private construction by state support in the form of credits and expertise. However, an uncertain economy means that homeownership is too expensive for most citizens and maintenance for existing properties has been poor.
In 1999, the total housing stock was at about 7.88 million units, serving a population of about 22.46 million people. Most dwellings were detached houses of two or three rooms. The vast majority of all residential units are in serious disrepair. Overcrowding is common and access to basic amenities of piped water and sanitation facilities is still somewhat limited.