Urban Quality of Life
Good jobs, a clean environment, low crime rates, lots of leisure-time and cultural attractions, good transport links: German cities frequently boast precisely these features. In a 2019 study aimed at evaluating the quality of life in 231 large cities conducted by the Mercer consulting firm, six German cities place in the top 25. With Munich (3rd place), Düsseldorf (6), and Frankfurt am Main (7), three actually make the top ten. Berlin (13), Hamburg (19) and Nuremberg (23) are also well up the list.
In Germany there are 81 large cities (more than 100,000 inhabitants) and 621 medium-sized cities with between 20,000 and 99,999 inhabitants; three quarters of people now live in cities. Experts are discussing, however, whether the strong trend towards urban homes might at least be temporarily curbed by the Corona pandemic. The new flexible possibilities for working may mean that for many people it is increasingly less important to live close to their place of work.
Preserving social diversity in the housing market
The demand for urban living space has led to a sharp rise in rents in the case of first-time lets, and in the price of real estate. With regard to home ownership rates within the OECD, Germany comes second from last. Forty-seven percent of households live in their own four walls. The majority opt for rented accommodation, which has traditionally always been preferred. Almost 13 percent of people view the cost of living as a “heavy financial burden”. On average, such costs absorb 26 percent of monthly incomes. For this reason the Federal Government has paved the way for rent caps aimed at preserving social diversity in regions where the housing market is under pressure. In the event of a change in tenant, new rents – with some exceptions – are capped at a max. ten percent higher than for a comparable flat. During the Corona pandemic, the Federal Government protected tenants from eviction due to late payments.
In 2018 the Federal Government set itself the goal of building 1.5 million new flats and houses in the context of a “housing offensive” and allocated two billion euros for social housing construction. Moreover, families now receive a state subsidy when buying their own home.