Can't afford the city? Move to the countryside says German association

Can't afford the city? Move to the countryside says German association

The German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB) has recommended that people in Germany move to the countryside in order to find affordable housing.

1,3 million houses are unoccupied in the German countryside

Against a backdrop of rising rents in German cities and suburbs, DStGB has suggested that people in Germany should move to the countryside to have a better chance of finding somewhere to live.

“Over 1,3 million market-ready flats lie empty, particularly in rural regions,” DStGB director Gerd Landsberg told Funke Mediengruppe. “For that reason, it would make sense to connect these regions with good public transport, either with new or retrofitted train lines, so that people can live there inexpensively and well.”

Landsberg says construction and rent controls will not suffice

The past few years have seen a number of attempts - such as Berlin’s temporary rent cap and the Deutsche Wohnen Enteignen housing referendum - to return rents to affordable levels in German cities using local policy.

Despite these efforts, Berlin’s year-long rent cap was ruled unlawful by Germany’s high court and the city’s housing referendum, which voted to nationalise 240.000 flats in the capital, has been a one-year-old elephant in the room for the centre-left SPD and now centre-right CDU local government.

Meanwhile, the knock-on effects of the energy crisis have left Germany short of affordable building materials. SPD minister Klara Geywitz has already admitted that the government will fail to meet its 2022 and 2023 targets of building 800.000 houses each year, in an attempt to plug the worst shortage Germany has seen in 20 years.

Many of the above policies remain underfunded or in a political stalemate, but according to Landsberg, these plans can’t carry the burden of Germany’s housing crisis alone. “With demands for cheaper rents or even for the nationalisation of housing companies, we are unfortunately not getting any closer to the goal,” he said. With a lack of land, rising construction prices and interest rates, the director called the federal government's building goals “hardly achievable”.

Thumb image credit: Sinuswelle /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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