Housing in Germany: Here’s where rent prices are going up (and down)

Rents are still heading upwards in many German cities – but there's a notable exception.

Housing in Germany: Here’s where rent prices are going up (and down)
In Berlin rents have gone down. Photo: DPA

The coronavirus crisis is causing major economic problems, and resulting in a loss of wages for many people. Yet rents are continuing to go up for new tenants in many German cities, according to a study by real estate firm Immowelt.

However, there's been a decline in the capital Berlin.

According to the analysis, rents are increasing in 57 of 81 German cities with more than 100,000 residents.

The company compared the current market rents of apartments (40 to 120 square metres, built in 2016 or older) in the last four months of 2019 with the first four months of 2020.

Here's what they found:

  • From the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020 rents rose by up to 12 percent –  a total of 57 German cities had rising prices
  • Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Munich are large cities with rising rents
  • The exception is Berlin where market rents have fallen – likely due to the rent freeze
  • Some smaller cities had the largest increases

READ ALSO: Why rents in Germany will continue to rise in 2020

Housing is getting more expensive

It's not just smaller cities with low rents which have so far been affected by the increases, the study reports. Even in the most expensive large cities and metropolitan areas, housing is becoming ever-more pricier. 

Munich shows an increase of four percent. The median rent for new apartments on the market in the Bavarian capital now costs €17.30 per square meter – more than in any other major city. 

Even the high-priced financial metropolis of Frankfurt is well behind with €13.60. Rents there have, however, risen by five percent in recent months. Similar increases were also recorded in Hamburg (+4 percent) and Düsseldorf (+5 percent).

Stuttgart, another notoriously high-priced city for renting in Germany, has seen a rise of three percent, from €12.40 per square meters to €12.80.

“The demand and supply for rental apartments gape widely apart in most major German cities, said Professor Dr Cai-Nicolas Ziegler, CEO of Immowelt AG. “Even the corona crisis has not changed this.

“The number of enquiries is already back to the level it was at before the crisis. Residential construction, on the other hand, has come to a partial halt. In tight markets, we therefore continue to expect rents to rise slightly.”

READ ALSO: Rising rent prices in Germany: What are the affordable options for families?

Why Berlin is the exception

One of the few cities with falling rents is Berlin. From on average €10.70 per square metre at the end of 2019 to the current €10.20, market rents have fallen by five percent. 

The rent freeze, which has been in force since the end of February, has played a major role in the decline.

READ ALSO: Berlin passes five year rent freeze law

It means rents for existing properties (built before 2014) are frozen for five years. At the same time, rent caps apply, the amount of which depends on the year of construction, location and equipment. The benchmark for this is the price level of the current Berlin rent index.

READ ALSO: Nearly 1,800 people turn up for single flat viewing in Berlin

Other cities where the rent has reportedly gone down are Ingolstadt (–2 percent) from €11.30 per square metre to €11.10 and Wiesbaden and Münster (both –3 percent).

In 70 percent of the cities surveyed, however, the price curve continues to point upwards.

The largest increases are recorded by the smaller cities. Reutlingen leads the way with a 12 percent increase between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, while Mainz (+10 percent) also shows double-digit growth.

In both cities, an apartment rents at more than €10 on average. Although this limit has not yet been topped in Moers (+9 percent) and Wolfsburg (+7 percent), new tenants there must also be prepared for higher prices.

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REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. German is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, comes with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.