Munich (dpa) – Regardless of all the housing campaigns carried out by the federal and state governments, the lack of affordable social housing is not in sight in the years to come.
The Central Association of the Housing Industry (GdW) therefore calls for increased state investment: “Funds for the promotion of social housing must be increased urgently to at least four billion euros per year in nationwide, ”said the chairman of GdW Axel Gedaschko of the news agency. “Of this amount, the federal and state governments must each co-finance two billion euros.”
The federal government currently provides one billion euros per year for housing assistance until 2024 and another billion for climate protection in 2022, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The planned minimum co-financing share of the Länder for 2020 and 2021 is 30%.
The number of social housing has so far declined inexorably. In 1990, there were around 3 million social housing units in Germany; at the end of 2020, there were only 1.1 million. The goal of the grand coalition for the coming legislature was to build 100,000 new social housing units. The Union and the SPD have even gone beyond that, and yet there has been a decline.
According to the Interior Ministry, more than 103,000 subsidized rental apartments were built between 2016 and 2019. But at the same time, more than 112,000 social housing units fell out of favor during the same period. Figures for 2020 are not yet included in this year’s federal real estate market report, but according to state figures cited by the ministry, there was another less than 26,339 in total.
“In view of the major problems for low-income people and social assistance recipients to find an apartment in the big cities of Germany, one billion euros per year is far insufficient to finance social housing”, explains Gedaschko. According to GdW, building an average apartment of 70 square meters now costs on average around 266,000 euros. The association is mainly made up of housing co-operatives and municipal businesses that offer affordable apartments.
The Länder have been responsible for the construction of social housing since 2006, the federal government only pays subsidies. Examples from some large cities: In Bremen, almost 4,000 social housing units out of almost 11,000 have fallen into disuse within a decade. In Cologne, the number has almost halved over the past ten years, from 38,381 to 19,398 at the end of 2020. At the end of 2019, there were still a good 95,000 subsidized rental apartments in Berlin, or over 57,000 of less than a decade earlier. .
Although tenant protection is a constant political issue in the federal capital, the Senate has done little in recent years when it comes to building new social housing. According to the official Berlin housing market report, only 4,526 new social housing units were built in Germany’s largest city between 2014 and the end of 2020, although well over 15,000 have been approved. However, the Senate promises that many more subsidized apartments will be built in the coming years.
Some federal states and large cities began to reverse the trend much earlier. These include Hamburg and Frankfurt am Main as well as Munich, where, according to the city administration, the number of 46,000 social housing units has remained almost constant over the past ten years.
But the example of Munich also shows that the need in the Bavarian capital, which has become more or less unaffordable for low-income people, has nevertheless increased. “The Housing and Migration Board has recorded an average increase of around 800 subsidized apartment applications every month since July 2020,” said a spokesperson for the Munich social department. Nearly 15,000 eligible households are currently registered with the city administration.
The shortage is even greater compared to the number of social housing available, for example in Cologne: there are 14,300 eligible households registered there, as a spokeswoman for the town hall announced. In Frankfurt, for example, there are nearly 9,000, in Nuremberg 6,500.
According to estimates by GdW, it would not be 100,000 new social housing units that would be needed in four years, but 320,000.