REVEALED: How much it costs to rent a room in a German university town

The cost of renting a room in a shared flat in one of Germany's 97 university towns is higher than ever before - though there are major regional differences, a new study suggests.

Munich city centre
Munich city centre, where rooms in shared flats are the most expensive in the country. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Matthias Balk

According to the study ‘University Town Scoring 2021’, people renting a room in a student hotspot currently have to shell out an average of €414 in ‘warm’ rent, meaning rent plus service charges and energy bills.

The Moses Mendelssohn Institute – who conducted the study – looked at around 25,000 advertisements for rooms in shared flats in 97 university towns across Germany between December and February.

They found that rents for students and other young people in these areas were higher than ever before.

Two years ago, the average warm rent for a room in a university town was €389 per month.

There are enormous differences in rents across different regions though – particularly across eastern and western university towns and in the major cities.

Unsurprisingly, Munich, which is home to the prestigious Ludwig Maximilian University, topped the scoreboard as the city with the highest rents for rooms in shared flats. 

In the Bavarian capital, students and other young people renting a room are currently expected to shell out a whopping €680 per month for their warm rent – far higher than any other university town in Germany.

The second most expensive city for room rentals was Frankfurt am Main, with average warm rents of €550 for a single room. In joint third place were Hamburg and Berlin, where single rooms cost €500 per month on average.

Outside of the capital, where rents have been soaring in recent years, flat-share tenants in other parts of eastern Germany can expect to pay around half of the average rents in the major cities. 

In the university towns of Freiberg, Mittweida und Chemnitz in Saxony, for instance, an average room in a shared flat will set you back €256 per month, including bills.

The cheapest city in the rankings, however, was Brandenburg’s Cottbus, where warm rents for a single room are just €230 a month.

The pandemic effect

Though average rents have gone up in recent years, experts say the price hikes have been dampened slightly by the pandemic, which has provided some relief on the housing market in some areas.

With online teaching becoming the norm in most universities at the height of Covid-19, many students were discouraged from looking for rooms in their university town and instead opted to save money by staying at home with their families.

High-rise flats in Chemnitz

The Karl Marx Monument and high-rise flats in Chemnitz, Saxony. Chemnitz is one of the cheapest places in Germany to be a student. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Hendrik Schmidt

READ ALSO: What it’s like to study abroad in Germany during a pandemic

This initially dampened rising rents and even led to prices going down in some of the university towns that were studied.

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Living in Germany: Exploring locally, Bargeld and the NRW state election

In our weekend roundup for Germany we look at exploring the country this summer, the country's obsession with cash and some facts about North Rhine-Westphalia, which goes to the polls on Sunday.

Living in Germany: Exploring locally, Bargeld and the NRW state election

A chance to explore Germany 

Although we’re still in the pandemic, it feels like life in Germany is beginning to feel a bit more like it did before Covid hit us. With many restrictions easing, people have been really enjoying spring and looking forward to summer.  So it’s no surprise that many of you have been reading our stories about travel. Our articles on the €9 monthly ticket as well as train travel in Germany and beyond have been particularly popular. The public transport offer will also give many people the chance to explore closer to home. I know I am really looking forward to seeing more of Germany, whether it’s around the Brandenburg area near where I live, or going further afield (Heidelberg, I’m looking at you). I’d love to know if you want to use the €9 ticket or if you have any plans to explore Germany this summer. Please fill in this survey on the €9 ticket (it’s open until Monday) and get in touch with your opinions or other travel plans by emailing [email protected]. Thanks so much to those of you who’ve already been in touch.

Tweet of the week

The German love of cash or Bargeld in 2022 while the rest of the world goes contactless is indeed one of life’s greatest mysteries, as this tweet highlights. We’ll definitely be using our ‘ask a German’ series to try and find out more about this habit… 

Where is this? 

Pankstrasse U-Bahn

Berliners or those who’ve visited the capital may recognise this U-Bahn station which is situated in the north. The station is actually part of the Pankstrasse nuclear fallout shelter. Built in 1977 during the Cold War, this “multi-purpose” facility was intended to protect the citizens of West Berlin in case of a nuclear conflict. The bunker serves not only as an U-Bahn stop for commuters but also, in an emergency, could have sheltered 3,339 people for up to two weeks. For those interested, we’d recommend checking out a tour like those run by Berliner Untervelten E.V. Due to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has led to massive tension between Europe and Russia, the tours have become even more topical.

Did you know?

Since people in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) or Nordrhein Westfalen are going to the polls this Sunday, we thought we’d look at some facts about this western state. This is Germany’s most populated state with about 17.9 million people. It’s also home to the most foreigners – around 2.5 million non-Germans live in NRW. With cities such as Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Essen, the state is a culturally rich and diverse part of Germany. Many people don’t know that Bonn was the capital of the former West Germany all the way up to reunification, before Berlin took the title. Many federal buildings and institutions still have their base there. 

The state is led by Christian Democrat Hendrik Wüst who took over last year after Armin Laschet resigned as state premier following his unsuccessful federal election bid. The CDU is currently in a coalition with the Free Democrats. But it looks like change is on the horizon. The CDU and the Social Democrats are both polling at around 30 percent, with the CDU having a slight lead of two to four percentage points. Meanwhile, the FDP appears to have lost support. It’s going to be a tight race – and the Greens party – polling at around 17 percent – will likely be the kingmakers. Important topics for voters include the future of German industry, and how to secure jobs in the move to renewable energy. Many people see this election as a test for the federal government which is led by the SPD’s Olaf Scholz. 

Thanks for reading,

Rachel and Imogen @ The Local Germany 

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