Cost of student housing rising in Germany - these cities are still cheap

Cost of student housing rising in Germany - these cities are still cheap

Cost of student housing rising in Germany - these cities are still cheap

Germany is one of the most popular study destinations in the world, but students here are increasingly having to content themselves with smaller and smaller rooms in exchange for more and more money. As the results of a recent survey made clear, student housing in Germany is becoming progressively more expensive. But there are still a few cities with affordable options. 

Average student rent has risen 54 euros in five years

As well as factoring in tuition fees and other study costs, people studying in Germany are increasingly having to reckon with much more expensive housing. According to a survey of around 22.000 students in Germany, undertaken by the University of Maastricht and personnel service provider Studitemps, the average student lives on just 28,9 square metres of space (the same as in 2014), but pays 386 euros per month for warm rent, 54 euros more than five years ago. 

Nationwide, the study found that one in every three students lives in shared housing (Wohngemeinschaft - WG); approximately 26 percent have their own apartments; just under a quarter live with their parents; and around 16 percent are in university dormitories. Students living in cities, where the rents are much higher, were much more likely to live at home with their parents. 

Tense housing market puts pressure on Germany’s students

The extreme situation in the city of Munich is just one example of the tense housing market awaiting Germany’s fresh crop of students: at the beginning of the winter semester 2018 / 2019, more than 11.200 students were on a waiting list for a place in student accommodation. 

Studitemps managing director, Eckhard Köhn, said that the search for affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing students in Germany. “Most of them have underestimated the costs of studying and overestimated their chances of finding a place to live,” he said. To lessen the pressure, he argued, the federal government and universities in Germany must invest more in student accommodation, social housing and student allowances such as Bafög

Rents in Berlin have increased 31 percent in five years

The survey found significant differences in rents, according to region and city, and concluded that, unsurprisingly, the west is more expensive than the east. Apart from Berlin, the 34 most expensive cities are all located in the old federal states.

Top of the pile is Konstanz, where students pay an average of 20,12 euros per square metre. Coming close behind are Munich (20,05 euros per square metre), Hamburg (19,27), Frankfurt (18,74), Wiesbaden (17,96) and Berlin (16,53). In classical university cities such as Freiburg (17,30), Heidelburg (16,19) or Tübingen (15,83), you also have to dig deep into your pockets. 

In these largest cities, rents have increased substantially since 2014 - by as much as 31 percent in the capital. Even in east Germany, prices are increasing: the average price per square metre in Erfurt (11,78), Leipzig (12,15) and Jena (13,21) may be well below western averages, but they are still significantly above what they were just a few years ago.

Where you can still find cheap(er) student housing in Germany

But, it’s not all bad news. There are still (relative) bargains to be had, as long as you know where to look. Among the most densely-populated German cities, Cologne emerges as the cheapest, with an average price of 15,88 euros per square metre. Even cheaper rents await those who stray further afield. 

Overall, the city of Halle comes out cheapest, with an average rent of 11,26 euros per square metre. Comparatively cheaper in west Germany are the cities of Essen (12,23) and Kassel (12,27), which both come near the bottom of the ranking. While Bonn and Düsseldorf are among the most expensive places to live, relative bargains can be found in neighbouring Dortmund, Bochum and Wuppertal. Students in Berlin will find cheaper rents in Potsdam, just over the Brandenburg border. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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