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Berlin Rent Surge: A 18.3% Increase in Just One Year

Bar graph illustrating an 18.3% increase in Berlin rents over the past year.

Berlin has experienced a significant surge in rental prices, with an average increase of 18.3% over the past year. This dramatic rise has been particularly pronounced in certain districts, raising concerns about housing affordability and the effectiveness of current policies.

Key Takeaways

Districts with the Highest Rent Increases

A survey conducted by Berlin Hyp and CBRE revealed that the districts of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Neukölln experienced the most significant rent increases, with hikes of 23.5% and 23.2% respectively. Other districts also saw substantial rises:

Housing Demand and Construction

The report predicts that the demand for housing in Berlin will continue to grow as more people move to the city. Currently, there are 220 housing construction sites in Berlin, expected to provide 34,940 new homes. However, only 15.1% of these new builds are within the S-Bahn Ring, pushing new developments into the suburbs.

Rising construction costs have led the German government to scale back its housing policy. The target for new homes has been reduced to a non-binding "soft target" of 20,000 new houses per year, including 5,000 social housing units.

The Effectiveness of Building More Homes

Nationwide data suggests that building more homes does not necessarily lower rents. Tenants in newly constructed homes often pay higher rents than those in older accommodations. The average rent for new builds is €11.01 per square meter, compared to €8.01 for all types of housing.

Alternative Solutions to Lower Rents

One proposed solution to decrease rents is the socialization of more housing in Berlin. The Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen campaign is advocating for a new referendum to expropriate housing, which a study by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation suggests could reduce Berlin rents by 16%.

The Issue of Illegally High Rents

The survey also highlighted that 75% of Berlin landlords are charging rents that exceed the legal limit. The German government has extended the nationwide rent brake (Mietpreisbremse) until 2029, but critics argue that it is not robust enough to protect renters.

Under the current law, if a landlord charges more than 10% above the legal amount determined by the rent index (Mietspiegel), tenants are entitled to a rent reduction and a refund of any overcharged rent. Despite this, many tenants continue to pay illegally high rents.

What Tenants Can Do

Tenants who suspect they are being overcharged can use the Mietspiegel database to check the legal rent for their address. If overcharged, they may contact the Berlin Tenants’ Association (Berliner Mieterverein) to seek a rent reduction.

The rising rents in Berlin highlight the urgent need for effective housing policies and protections for tenants to ensure affordable living conditions in the city.