The German market for residential real estate is characterized by high rental and purchase prices in the metropolitan regions. An important factor here is the insufficient number of new construction projects for years and decades. The new traffic light coalition government in Berlin also wants to give new impetus here..
The German GEWOS Institute for Urban, Regional and Housing Research, based in Hamburg, expects a “trend reversal” to occur in the German real estate market in the current year 2022. According to the current GWOS Real Estate Market Analysis IMA®, which is considered the only area-wide study based on actual sales, a decline in turnover on the German transaction market is forecast. Cash turnover on the German real estate market had exceeded the €300 billion mark for the first time in the past year 2021.
The major increases in sales on the real estate market were caused primarily by the multi-family house and condominium segments and Germany’s top 10 cities: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt/Main, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Dortmund and Essen. The decline in sales expected by the GEWOS Institute would be the first of its kind in 13 years now. This “trend reversal” is likely to be further accentuated by an inflation rate in Germany that is unprecedented for over 70 years. According to the Federal Statistical Office Destatis in Wiesbaden, the inflation rate is expected to have been as high as ten percent in September 2022.
Target mark a distant prospect
Fewer real estate sales, rising interest rates, high inflation – what’s happening to the lofty goal of the red-yellow-green German government and its Construction and Housing Minister Klara Geywitz? The coalition agreement signed in December 2022 stipulated the following: “Our goal is to build 400,000 new homes per year, 100,000 of which will be publicly subsidized homes. To achieve this, we will continue federal financial support for social housing construction, including social home ownership subsidies, and increase funding.”
But at the latest with the latest economic developments, this goal seems to have receded into the distant future. In 2021, just 293,000 new homes were completed across Germany. The 400,000 mark for 2022 is probably an illusion. Although Minister Geywitz continues to adhere to this goal, she only expects “over 200,000 apartments” for this year. The interim conclusion: There is still too little being built. The impending recession and the increased cost of building materials are also contributing to the fact that private investors and project developers are having to review and recalculate construction projects that they thought were secure and financed.
Is the Chancellor’s “boom” also coming to the housing market?
On the other hand, these developments also mean that banks are now taking a closer look at real estate financing. In its latest issue (September 29, 2022), the “Immobilien-Zeitung,” the leader medium of the German industry, ran the headline: “Lending platforms take up position”. Potential borrowers need “quick access to the appropriate lender and speedy loan decisions,” writes cover story author Ulrich Schüppler. Digital platform solutions could easily provide this quickly and reliably.
The “trend reversal” described at the beginning of this report therefore not only affects the real estate transaction market in Germany, but also project developments, financing and, above all, the residential market. In addition, the public sector, i.e., local authorities, the federal government, and the federal states in Germany, want to step up their role as developers again. Public housing construction could even be facing a major “revival”. If Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) decides to unleash billions of euros of investment on the residential real estate market, too, with a “bang”.