D.he debate about high rents continues after the judge’s end for the Berlin rent cap. In a decade of economic boom in Germany before the corona pandemic, urban rental costs have often risen. However, the proportion of housing costs in relation to disposable household income has tended to fall on average. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the share of housing costs fell from 30.9 percent in 2009 to 25.9 percent in 2019.
This significant decrease is of particular benefit to normal and high earners. For the population at risk of poverty, the proportion of housing costs fell in these ten years from 51.0 percent to 49.0 percent and for the rest from 27.2 percent to 21.9 percent. During this period, there are also fluctuations and, overall, a spread, according to which, with more income, proportionally less has to be spent on living.
The data can therefore be viewed from two sides: on the one hand, housing costs are less important on average, on the other hand, the proportion for people with low incomes is still high at around half. The economist Clemens Fuest, President of the Munich Ifo Institute, rated the data on Twitter as an important statistic. He pointed out that the share of housing costs in income has decreased on average, and the heterogeneity between groups and regions.
Housing costs are less likely to hit high incomes
For Claus Michelsen, Head of Economic Policy at DIW Berlin, the average housing cost burden is not the point. “For high incomes, this has dropped significantly over the past 20 years. The situation is very different for the lower income brackets, ”wrote the economist on Twitter, adding his own research.
When looking at the future development of housing expenditure, there is optimism that the proportionate costs can fall further. The consequences of the corona pandemic do not yet appear in the data from the Federal Statistical Office, but digitization and increased home work can lead to greater relaxation in the housing markets. At least that’s what Norbert Portz, urban planning specialist for the Association of Towns and Municipalities, counts on. “We will not solve the republic’s housing problems in Munich,” he said in an interview.
Portz is building on more decentralization, the preservation of home workplaces even after Corona and living and working in rural areas if this is attractive and well connected. “Digital work has increased and it will stay that way.” He also points out that 1.8 million apartments in Germany are vacant. More than half a million apartments are currently available. If people work more decentrally, more people can take advantage of the cheaper rents in rural areas, he hopes. This would also serve the often overheated cities by reducing traffic jams as well as the environment, people and climate protection.
High rents are particularly due in large cities. According to the Federal Office, the average net rent per square meter for new rentals from 2015 in the seven metropolises of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf was 10.80 euros. In contrast, it was 7.70 euros in urban districts, 7.30 euros in urban districts, 6.40 euros in rural districts and only 6.10 euros in sparsely populated rural districts.
14 percent are overburdened by housing costs
In the big cities, the influx has a clear impact. In the seven largest cities, tenants who have moved in since 2015 pay a fifth more than people with older leases. The average In a comparison of the federal states by the Federal Statistical Office in 2018, net cold rent per square meter varied for new lettings between 5.70 euros in Saxony-Anhalt and 5.90 euros in Thuringia up to 9.10 euros in Berlin, 9.30 euros in Bavaria and 10.30 euros in Hamburg.
Around 14 percent of the population in Germany According to statisticians, lived in households that were overburdened by housing costs in 2019 and spend more than 40 percent of their disposable income on housing. According to the data from the Federal Statistical Office, people with lower incomes benefited less from the upswing. The housing cost share of households at risk of poverty fell only slightly in 2019 and is also higher than in 2010 and 2017.
A household at risk of poverty living alone averaged 57.5 percent, single parents 47.3 percent, with two adults without a child 44.9 percent and with two adults with two children 33.8 percent. For households not at risk of poverty, the value is between 28.5 percent (living alone) and 20.4 percent (two adults, two children).
People with an equivalised income of less than 60 percent of the median equivalised income are considered to be at risk of poverty. The housing costs of the Federal Statistical Office also include water and sewage, energy and heating costs, expenses for maintenance, mortgage interest for owners and others.
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