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Riverside houses in Hamburg

Rents in Hamburg have risen sharply in the last two years

Rents in Hamburg have risen sharply in the last two years

Despite government efforts to curb the housing shortage, prices are rising faster than they have in the past 10 years

On 14 December, the 2021 Hamburg rent index was published revealing that prices are rising faster than they have been in a decade. The rent index is a report on the state of the rental housing market in the city and it has been issued since 1976 every two years.

According to this year’s issue, rent prices in the Hanseatic City have gone up by 7.3%, a major increase when compared to 2019’s 2.6% figure. The current average price per square metre is 9.29 euros and prices have gone up across the board.

The largest portion of the rental housing stock is made up of units built in the post-war period between 1948 and 1960 and they account for 30% of the housing stock. In smaller apartments, rents have gone up by 10.4%. The price rise also applies to new apartments, with larger ones being valued at 17 euros per square metre.

Many things contribute to the rise in prices

Senator for Urban Development Dorothee Stapelfeldt, speaking to NDR (North German Broadcasting), explained that the sharp rise in prices is something that local authorities cannot ignore. Some of the reasons for the rise in prices across the board include modernisation efforts in terms of energy efficiency.

According to Andreas Breitner from the Association of North German Housing Companies, an apartment built in the 1960s, which has been recently refurbished has to go on the market at a higher price.

While he acknowledged the important work local authorities have been doing in terms of climate change policy and building optimisation via PV systems, he urged for caution. Specifically, he named careless climate regulation of renovations as a potential factor against a just climate transition.

The Alliance for Housing

One of the most important pieces of legislation for the Hamburg housing market is the recently signed ‘Alliance for Housing’. It aims to increase the supply of subsidised public housing in the city by mandating the construction of 10,000 new apartments every year until 2025.

The Alliance for Housing wants to offer citizens affordable long-term renting options; however, in this case, ‘long-term’ means 100+ years. This move partially imitates the Viennese social housing model, where the city is the largest provider of housing on the market.

Regrettably, the initiative hit a snag back in October as, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamburg saw a 17% reduction in building permits. The lack of building permits put the city’s housing unit target at risk and it still remains to be seen whether they will be able to reach it.

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