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COMPARE: The cities in Germany with the fastest-rising rents

COMPARE: The cities in Germany with the fastest-rising rents
New rental contracts in Stuttgart can be pricey. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat
Rents are rising rapidly throughout Germany, but which cities have seen the biggest price hikes on asking prices over the past five years? We take a look at the some of the surprising (and not-so-surprising) answers to that question.

Tenants’ rights and soaring rents are high up on the agenda in this year’s parliamentary and state elections – and for good reason.

A recent study conducted by property search portal Immowelt revealed that rents on new contracts have risen in at least 80 major German cities over the past five years – with 34 cities seeing rents rise by 20 percent or more over the same period of time.

Most shocking of all – but also unsurprising – was the fact that rents on new flats advertised in the capital have risen by an astounding 42 percent, with renters in Berlin expecting to pay on average €4 more per square metre in 2021 on new contracts as they did in 2016. 

READ ALSO: ‘Stressed and depressed’: How Berlin’s rent cap fiasco has affected foreign tenants

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The chart below put together by Immowelt shows the average asking price per square metre in cities with the fastest rising rents in 2016 compared to 2021.


Source: Immowelt

Rents also rose significantly in some of the notoriously expensive cities in southern and western Germany.

In eastern Germany, there were much smaller increases in rental prices – with the exception of Leipzig (or “Hypezig“, as some have termed it) which has been attracting an influx of hip, arty types over the past few years.

However, despite prices rising in Leipzig by over a fifth (22 percent), these trendy newcomers are still likely to be paying less than €8 per square metre for their new rental apartments. 

Rents outpacing inflation in most cities

The source for the study was listings on the Immowelt portal in the first half of 2016 and the first half of 2021. A wide range of properties were looked at, ranging between 40 square metres and 120 square metres in size, and all ages of property from Altbau (older properties) to Neubau (new-build properties) were included in the study. 

As Immowelt notes, Germany saw inflation of eight percent over the same period. But the price rises in 75 of the 85 cities studied outpaced inflation. 

Here’s how much the prices on flat offers rose in some of Germany’s most popular cities in just half a decade. 

Berlin: 42 percent

To anyone who’s been living – or, worse, flat-hunting – in Berlin over the past few years, it won’t come as much of a surprise that Berlin is topping the league table for rent increases. 

As we mentioned, rents in the capital have risen 42 percent over the past five years. While in the first months of 2016, the average renter paid €9 per square metre, in 2021, the average is €12.80 per square metre.

For those who’ve been following the news lately, the dates of the study will also come as a nasty shock. 

According to Immowelt, the dramatic rise in rents occurred “despite the fact that the rent cap was introduced and the asking rents for regulated existing apartments had fallen since the law was announced in June 2019”.

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Unfortunately, that’s likely to mean even steeper price rises in the future. 

“After the rent cap was dropped in April of this year, there was a rebound effect that is likely to continue in the coming months,” Immowelt explained.

Living in Berlin may be nice – but it’s expensive. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

Stuttgart: 27 percent

An infamously pricey city, Stuttgart, in Baden-Württemburg, saw rental prices climb by 27 percent between 2016 and 2019. It now ranks sixth in Immowelt’s list of cities where the rents are rising fastest. 

While those who moved to the city five years ago might have been able to secure a flat there for €10.90 per square metre, you can now expect to shell out an eye-watering €13.80 per square metre for your new Stuttgart pad. 

Munich: 24 percent

For several years in a row, Munich was crowned most expensive city in Germany, and with price rises of more than 24 percent over five years, it continues to be a strong contender.

As reported by The Local, the city council has been putting forward big plans recently to try and curb price hikes in the city. From the sounds of it, they may well be needed: the average renter can expect to pay an unbelievable €19.20 per square metre to live in the Bavarian capital in 2021, up from €15.50 in 2016. 

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Hamburg: 19 percent 

In Hamburg, average rents rose by 19 percent over five years, up from €10.50 per square metre in mid-2016 to €12.50 in the middle of this year.

At €12.50 per square metre, however, the northern city state – which has previously been crowned the richest city in Germany – has slipped behind Berlin in terms of its rental prices.

Renters in the harbour city can now feel smug in the knowledge that they currently pay around €0.40 less on average than their counterparts in the German capital.

Frankfurt: 16 percent

Home to big banks and powerful corporations, Frankfurt is also counted among Germany’s most expensive cities, and prices there also continue to rise steeply. 

Over the past five years, average rents in Hesse’s largest city have climbed from €12.50 to €14.50, representing an increase of 16 percent.

Frankfurt is known for its stunning skyline. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

However, as in Hamburg and Stuttgart, Immowelt has seen the upward curve start to flatten over the past year – potentially thanks to the upheaval caused by Covid-19.

READ ALSO: Where rents are falling (and going up) in Germany’s biggest cities

Dresden: 13 percent 

A small glimmer of light on a gloomy horizon, Dresden’s rents rose by a modest 13 percent over the period looked at – which equated to a 90 cent per square metre price rise for tenants.

The more subtle rent increase in Saxony’s capital reflects a wider trend across the eastern parts of Germany, where prices have tended to remain lower. Even after a more than 10 percent price rise in Dresden, the average renter will pay the bargain price of €7.90 per square metre on new contracts to live in Dresden, compared with €7 in 2016.  

Medium-sized cities

With the exception of Berlin, the largest percentage increases tended to be in smaller cities.

Heilbronn (+38 percent) in Baden-Württemberg and Offenbach in Hesse (+30 percent) ranked second and fourth on the list respectively, and are gradually catching up with the metropolises. In 2021, rents in both cities cracked the €11 mark.

Freiburg (+26 percent) and Heidelberg (+25 percent), both in BaWü, were also listed among the top 10 most expensive cities in the country, with square meter prices of €13.00 and €12.50 respectively.

In Hildesheim in Lower Saxony (+33 percent) and Kaiserslautern in Rhineland-Palatinate (+28 percent), on the other hand, rents are still low in spite of a steep rise: just under €8 per square meter in both cities.

Properties in Germany

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