Cost of student housing continues to get more expensive in Germany

Cost of student housing continues to get more expensive in Germany

Cost of student housing continues to get more expensive in Germany

Despite only rising slightly in the first half of 2021, student rents remain remarkably high in Germany. There is also tough competition for accommodation amongst students, with thousands still waiting for a place.

Student rents remain high in Germany

The coronavirus crisis had a significant effect on students, with many delaying their studies or watching their lectures online from their own homes. This meant that, as shown by the MLP Student Housing Report 2021, rents for student accommodation did not rise as sharply as they have done in previous years. The report, undertaken by the German Economic Institute, shows that nationwide rents increased by an average of 1,8 percent, whilst flatshare rents rose by 0,9 percent.

The increase in rents has affected 19 out of 30 university locations in Germany. Student rents vary from region to region; in Munich where students pay just over 800 euros for 30 square metres of living space, rents have only increased by 0,1 percent. On the other hand, in Freiburg where students only pay 515 euros for 30 square metres, rents have increased by 5,9 percent.

In some places, like Stuttgart and Frankfurt, student rents actually dropped. This was mainly due to more student apartments being available as coronavirus kept people from moving to university. Experts expect student rents to continue rising at pre-pandemic levels once society returns to normal and the number of students enrolling at an educational institution rises once again.

Demand for affordable housing on the rise

Despite rents only rising by a relatively small amount, and even declining in some regions, price levels are still so high that there is fierce competition for affordable apartments. Thus, students often find themselves competing with higher-earning groups, such as single workers or long-distance commuters, for cheap apartments. Students are further affected by the loss of part-time jobs in the tourism and catering industries due to coronavirus.

In fact, since the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions and as students returned to school, demand for student accommodation has increased massively. The German Student Union (DSW) has revealed that there are thousands of students that are on waiting lists for student accommodation. In Berlin alone there are around 3.800 students on the waiting lists, while 2.700 students in Frankfurt are waiting, as are 2.200 in Heidelberg.

In Munich, there are around 15.000 students on waiting lists for accommodation, although this does include applicants from previous terms. However, the situation is such that the city has called on private landlords to offer their apartments to students.

Easing the pressure on the housing market

The Greens, the SPD and The Left have all called for stronger interventions to try and tackle the problems on the housing market. However, rent regulation has proved ineffectual in Berlin and actually limited the supply of cheap, affordable housing. On the other hand, the CDU / CSU and FDP have called for more affordable housing to be built.

The Secretary-General for the German Student Union, Matthias Anbuhl, agrees with this sentiment, drawing attention to the fact that “since 2007, the federal and state governments have increased the number of state-sponsored study places by 52 percent - since then the number of state-sponsored dormitory places has only increased by 9 percent.” Anbuhl has called on the federal and state governments to invest in student accommodation, in both maintaining and creating affordable living spaces.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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