Over a million German households spend half of their income on rent

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The Local ([email protected]) • 31 Mar, 2023 Updated Fri 31 Mar 2023 17:37 CEST
Over a million German households spend half of their income on rent
New housing being built in Gelsenkirchen. Cities of over 100,000 people are seeing especially higher rent burdens in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Strauch

Over 15 percent of people in the country are spending at least 40 percent of their income on rent, according to the federal statistics agency.

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Rent is taking up an increasing share of the average German paycheck, according to the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis).

The agency found that 3.1 million households in the country are spending at least 40 percent of their pay on rent, with about 1.5 million spending more than half their pay on cold rents. Cold rents in Germany typical don’t include utilities like heat and electricity, so total housing costs are even higher.

The average gross rent per square metre in Germany sat at €8.70 as of the end of 2022, although it is much higher in places like Berlin, Frankfurt – and especially Munich.


The increasing rent burden is particularly high on single-person households, people in larger German cities and people who moved into their current apartments after 2019. 

People living in smaller German cities are still paying, on average, much less than people in larger cities for rent. Inhabitants of cities of 20,000 people or less are spending around 26 percent of their income on rent, compared to the 27 to 29 percent seen in cities of over 100,000 people.

The burden on single people is particularly clear. They spend around a full third of their incomes on cold rents, as a nationwide average. That's compared to couples or two-person households, whose rent equates to about a quarter of their income. 

For those who have newer rental contracts, the news is a bit more dire still – no matter where you live in the country.

Those who signed in 2019 or later are paying an average of €1.10 per square metre more than those who signed before. In larger cities, that difference is up to €1.40 per square metre, with people who moved in after 2019 in those cities paying an average of €11.00 per square metre on cold rent.

READ ALSO: Why Germany wants families to move to the countryside


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