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LIVING IN GERMANY

Living in Germany: Housing bubbles, mind-aching homophones and flying dragons

In our weekly roundup about life in Germany, we look at changes to the housing market, confusing German words to hear, rock formations and kite season.

Living in Germany: Housing bubbles, mind-aching homophones and flying dragons
Kites at a festival in Berlin on September 19th 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

Could Germany’s priciest cities be set for a slump?

This week saw the Economics Ministry update its forecasts for the coming year – and it isn’t particularly good news for consumers. While we’re all hoping that this period of soaring costs will come to an end soon, Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) reckons we could see a continuation of skyrocketing prices well into next year – and alongside high inflation, a recession could also be on the cards. However, there’s one area where price increases do seem to be slowing down: the German housing market.

A study by Swiss bank UBS has identified two German cities – Frankfurt and Munich – as areas with the highest risk of a housing bubble in the entirety of the Eurozone. The sobering report comes after years of double-digit property price increases that have made buying a home in both cities an increasingly unattainable dream. According to UBS, there are now clear signs that the housing market in the Hessian and Bavarian capitals is cooling down: prices grew by just five percent last year, and demand appears to be tapering off due as borrowing gets more expensive. 

Among some of the astounding stats from the study is that current house prices in Munich are equivalent to a whopping 46 years of rental income – which is pretty incredible, given that Munich has some of the highest rents in Germany. Let us know if you think it’s still worth buying a home in Germany – or if long-term renting is the way to go. 

Tweet of the week

Just when you thought you were making progress in German, some tricksy homophones like these come along to make everything confusing again. Personally, we think the wieder willig / widerwillig one is particularly cruel. Have any of these tripped you up before? 

Where is this?

Autumn in Saxony

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Robert Michael

These stunning rock formations can only mean one thing: this is, of course, the Basteibrücke (Bastion Bridge) which weaves between soaring sandstone mountains in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. With Germany experiencing something of an Indian Summer right now, it’s the perfect time to get out hiking and explore some awe-inspiring natural landscapes – and, if you’re lucky, even catch a sunrise or two. 

Did you know?

Autumn is in full swing in Germany, and one of the ways Germans like to enjoy some fresh air on cooler days is by getting out to a park and flying a kite. Interestingly enough, “kite” in German is “Drachen” – which literally means dragon. We’re not quite sure how they got this adorable name, but it could be to do with the popularity of flying dragon-shaped kites, given how well they stay in the air.

Fans of kite-flying – and kites in general – should definitely put a visit to Berlin’s annual ‘Festival der Riesendrachen’ (festival of huge kites, or dragons) on their bucket list. The kite festival is held on Tempelhofer Feld, a former airport that was turned into a public park and still has the old runways – making it the ideal location for kite flying. You’ll see your fair share of actual dragons there, along with other weird and wonderful kites, but the main idea is: the bigger the better. And if you’re lucky, you may also catch some storytellers spinning tales about dragons that the whole family can enjoy. 

Thanks for reading,

The Local Germany team

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LIVING IN GERMANY

Living in Germany: World Cup rainbows, pumpkin slaughter and a nation of savers

From unusual traditions at a world famous pumpkin festival to Germans' spending habits (or lack there of), we take a look at some of the big talking points of life in Germany.

Living in Germany: World Cup rainbows, pumpkin slaughter and a nation of savers

Where do Germans move to?

Many of our members are foreigners who choose to call Germany home. But what do we know about the Germans who move outside the country? According to official figures from last year, around five million Germans currently live abroad. And most of the Germans who emigrate – perhaps unsurprisingly – don’t go too far. Switzerland is home to the most Germans who choose to leave their country.

About 17,000 Germans took up residence there in 2021. Next in line is Austria – another German-speaking country. Around 11,000 Germans chose to live and work there last year.

But it’s not just the German-speaking places that attract Deutschlanders. In third spot for Germans emigrating abroad in 2021 was the United States – 8,400 Germans moved there last year. Meanwhile, just over 6,000 Germans took up residence in Spain, while around 5,000 each opted for Turkey, France, the United Kingdom, and Poland. 

Tweet of the week

All eyes are on the FIFA World Cup in Qatar – but it’s more than football that’s in the news. The world is watching the various protests going on against Qatar, over its treatment of migrant workers, women and the LGBTQ community. German football commentator Claudia Neumann made waves for her choice of rainbow clothing. 

Where is this?

Photo: DPA/Ilkay Karakurt

The Ludwigsburg pumpkin festival (Kürbisausstellung) is slowly coming to an end after months! So what happens to the pumpkins? Well, a big “pumpkin slaughter” takes place at the Blühende Barock gardens where enthusiasts salvage what they can. Meanwhile, the seeds are usually auctioned off. 

Did you know?

With inflation at over 10 percent, it’s no wonder that many people in Germany are being more careful with their spending. A new survey released this week from the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) found that 63 percent of consumers have cut back their spending. The survey also found that more Germans are making long-term changes to their lifestyle such as buying less clothes and repairing goods instead of buying new ones. However, did you know that Germany has a reputation for saving, and making items go further? In fact, Germans are known for being a nation of savers rather than investors.

The Local contributor Aaron Burnett wrote in a recent article on investing: “It’s even apparent in the language – the German word for “debt” is ‘Schuld,’ which also means ‘guilt.’ During the euro crisis, ‘austerity’ was often called ‘Sparpolitik’ in German newspapers, or “the politics of saving”. Meanwhile, many Germans keep most of their money in savings accounts and avoid maxing out credit cards. 

Germany is also known for its second-hand culture and strong recycling ethic. Second-hand shops or platforms for selling items are common. You’ll also find that people leave their old clothes or books on their doorstep in a box with ‘zu verschenken’ (to give away) written on a sign. People can look through the items and take anything they want at no cost. 

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