Single people and large families ‘pay more for rent’ in Germany

Tenants in Germany are having to pay higher prices for one-room flats and flats with more than five rooms, according to a new analysis.

A view of apartments in Düsseldorf.
A view of apartments in Düsseldorf. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcel Kusch

The study by housing market data experts empirica regio found that singles and large families pay the highest rents per square metre in Germany.

On average, tenants paid €9.84 per square metre ‘cold rent’ for a one-room flat throughout Germany last year, not including add-on costs or Nebenkosten. Flats with five or more rooms were offered on average for €8.78 per square metre.

In contrast, flats with two rooms were cheaper – at €8.72 per square metre, as were three-room flats at €8.41, and four-room flats at €8.42.

The situation is particularly bad in large cities, including Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Berlin. In these areas, families paid €13.71 per square metre for flats with five or more rooms on average last year, and one-room flats were €13.50 per square metre.

READ ALSO: The most expensive (and cheapest) cities in Germany to rent a room

Both are above the average rent of €12.79 per square metre. Two-room flats (€12.21 per square metre), three-room flats (€12.05 per square metre) and four-room flats (€12.77 per square metre) were offered at a cheaper rate.

In Germany, a one-room flat is an apartment with the bedroom and living room combined. There is a separate bathroom, and usually a separate kitchen (although sometimes the one room can include the kitchen). A two-room flat consists of a living room and a separate bedroom. 

According to the data, there were similar patterns in other medium-sized cities. In regions that are experiencing a decline in growth, however, one- and two-bedroom flats were particularly in demand and therefore more expensive than other types of flats.

A major issue in cities is that bigger flats are not being built as often as smaller apartments. This means families will struggle to find suitable homes, and the cost for the remaining flats will go up. 

READ ALSO: How property prices are falling in major German cities

“We see that especially in big cities too few family-friendly flats are being built,” said Jan Grade, CEO of empirica regio.

“The real estate industry is currently often reacting to the growing number of households by completing single flats. The target group of families is in danger of being lost from view.

“In order to absorb the additional burden on singles and families, one-bedroom flats and large flats must become more affordable. This can only be done by increasing supply.”

READ ALSO: Six confusing things about renting a flat in Germany 

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Up to 30 percent of large families in Germany ‘live in overcrowded housing’

In Germany, more than one in ten residents lived in overcrowded housing last year, according to data from the Federal Statistical Office released on Thursday. But the figures were much higher for families with children.

Up to 30 percent of large families in Germany 'live in overcrowded housing'

Around 8.6 million people – or 10.5 percent of the population – were living in cramped quarters in 2021.

Households with children were the most likely in overcrowded housing, which is defined as too few rooms in relation to the number of people. This is based on the European Community statistics on income and living conditions, the so-called EU-SILC.  

A home is considered overcrowded if, for example, there is no common room or no separate room per adult.

READ ALSO: Single people and large families ‘pay more for rent’ in Germany

Among families, the overcrowding rate was 15.9 percent. In households with two adults and at least three children, the figure hovered as high as 30.7 percent. For single parents, it was 28.4 percent. 

At 17.8 percent, the overcrowding rate for minors was around six times higher than for older people aged 65 and over, where the figure stood at only three percent.

Households without children

In households without children, the overcrowding rate was 6.5 percent, lower than across all other types of living situations. Proportionally, two adults without children were least likely to live in overcrowded housing, with a figure of just 2.7 percent.

According to the statistics office, there was a marked difference between urban and rural areas. The proportion of people living in overcrowded apartments in larger cities was around three times higher at 15.5 percent than in rural areas at 4.9 percent.

READ ALSO: Half of big city households in Germany ‘spend over 30 percent of income on rent’

Across the EU, however, Germany fares better than average. According to Eurostat, the overcrowding rate in the EU in 2021 was 17.1 percent.


overcrowded – überbelegt

single parents – (die) Alleinerziehende

living conditions – (die) Lebensbedingungen

proportionally – anteilig

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