This paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of pan-European datasets, in particular ECHP and EU-SILC, for research in housing. Although ‘housing’ is a complex topic when studied from a European comparative perspective, I argue that there is no inherent reason why housing should be less amenable to cross-national research than other equally complex topics in comparative social science research, such as research into family change and stability, or the impact of educational systems on social stratification. Given appropriate theory, conceptualisation and contextualisation, along with strong methodologies, meaningful and informative research in housing with ECHP and EU-SILC are possible. There are however a number of limitations, which are mainly related to the fact that both datasets are geared towards the ‘production’ of a ‘system of social indicators’ informing European and national governments. Because of these limitations, ECHP and in particular EU-SILC are less attractive and less useful for academic research then they could potentially be.