Housing shortage will last “for at least another ten years”


Lerato Khumalo

Too few new apartments are being built in Germany. The result: high rents and purchase prices. According to the housing industry, this will probably remain the case for a long time.

The Federal Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies (GdW) has warned of a continuing crisis on the housing market. “It is not possible to simply build 400,000 new apartments per year straight away. The housing shortage will therefore last for at least another ten years,” GdW President Axel Gedaschko told “Bild am Sonntag” on Sunday.

The federal government is doing too little to achieve its own housing target. Gedaschko called on the federal government, states and municipalities to take tough countermeasures. States and municipalities should make all developable land available and the federal government should promote construction with subsidies and low-interest loans.

According to GdW forecasts, the federal government clearly missed its target of 400,000 apartments last year, and the number of housing permits has also been declining for months. In a study presented last week by the Pestel Institute, the housing deficit in Germany was estimated at 700,000 apartments.

Since then, warnings from the construction industry have been increasing. “The distribution of scarce living space will lead to further displacement of poor people from the cities and threatens to become socially explosive,” Harald Schaum, vice-chairman of the industrial union Building-Agriculture-Environment, told the newspaper. Almost eleven percent of households in Germany already have to spend more than 40 percent of their income on housing.

The FDP has already called for a “construction booster” for 2023. “The concepts have long been on the table,” said Daniel Föst, the party’s housing policy spokesman. The tenants’ association, on the other hand, is calling for a reform of social housing. The vast majority of Germans also expect more effort from the federal government in housing policy.

According to a survey by the INSA polling institute, 80 percent believe that the government is doing too little to create more housing. Every second tenant (48 percent) thinks their rent is too high, and every seventh (14 percent) says they were unable to pay their rent on time last year.