The housing need in cities and university towns has increased dramatically, she said at the launch of an association for affordable housing in Berlin.
“There is a significant internal migration in Germany,” the centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) politician said.
While in some areas of the country population decline has left people struggling to sell their homes, the major cities are booming. The populations of Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg are all rising.
In Germany’s seven largest cities, the population has increased by a total of 330,000 since 2007 and the number of households has grown by 180,000.
In 2013, 225,000 new homes were built in the country.
One way to tackle the shortage is to make more wasteland available for building, Hendricks said.
The German Tenants’ Association wants to see one million new homes built by 2017, including 250,000 for social housing.
At the moment the government gives Germany’s 16 states €518 million a year for social housing, but the construction of affordable homes declined by 40 percent between 2002 and 2012, according to the Federal Office for Building and Planning.
Rents meanwhile increased 3.5 percent nationwide in 2013 to an average of €6.80 per square metre. They climbed faster in Munich, Berlin and Hamburg.
The government plans to cap rents in some expensive areas of cities to stop low and middle income earners being driven out. This has led to criticism from developers.
Hendricks said, however, that the planned cap on rents would not stall building as it did not apply to new homes.
SEE ALSO: Is rent in Germany too expensive?