Apartment Shortage Grips Germany

Baustelle für Wohnhochhäuser in München, 2015
A Munich housing development in progress.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    In big cities and smaller university towns, rents have risen dramatically in recent years because there are not enough apartments. And Germany’s refugee influx has only compounded the problem.

  • Facts


    • A total of 182,800 residential permits were issued in the first six months of 2016, including 154,500 for apartments, according to the BFW real estate association’s website.
    • The number of completed dwellings in 2015 increased by only 1 percent compared to the previous year.
    • That amounted to 248,000 apartments, which is far below the 400,000 new units that experts say are needed annually.
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In the first six months of the year, more building permits were issued for apartments in Germany than since the turn of the millennium. The Federal Statistical Office reported that 182,800 permits were issued through June, up a third on a year ago.

But licenses don’t equal instant structures, say experts – meaning that living space will remain scarce and expensive in Germany.

The rise in building permits will not reduce the shortage of apartments in urban areas, said the BFW real estate association.

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