Dhe financial situation of the almost 3 million students in Germany is getting worse. How from the MLP According to the Student Housing Report 2022, the housing costs in small apartments and shared rooms have recently risen particularly significantly. While the Federal Statistical Office only reports an increase in rents of 1.5 percent in its inflation calculation for August, according to calculations by the financial service provider MLP in cooperation with the German Economic Institute (IW), the pure rental costs for standard student apartments without additional costs have increased by 5 percent within one year .9 percent, in flat shares even by 9.4 percent.
Michael Voigtländer, real estate expert at the IW, attributes this to a significant decline in the supply of shared rooms. “During the Corona period, renting was difficult, many students gave notice of their shared rooms, and some owners switched to renting the entire apartment to couples or families.” In addition, there are not only from students, but also from the elderly a greater demand for small apartments. “But the energy prices are doing the rest,” says Voigtländer. “Apartments with a smaller area and thus lower heating costs are becoming more attractive.”
The rise in rents differs in the 38 student cities surveyed. It is highest in Berlin, where the housing supply was particularly restricted by the rent cap, which was later declared unconstitutional. According to the student housing price index calculated in the study, rents rose by 18.5 percent. But rents in Leipzig, Greifswald and Rostock also increased by around 12 percent within a year. The lowest increase was in Freiburg with around 3 percent.
The most expensive remains both the student model apartment of 30 square meters with a distance of 2.5 kilometers to the university and the 20 square meter room in a shared flat in Munich with 787 euros monthly rent including heating for the small apartment and 540 euros for the shared room. Berlin has advanced to second place for shared rooms and third place for apartments. Student apartments are the cheapest in Chemnitz at around 200 euros. The authors of the study emphasize that the Bafög housing cost rate of 360 euros per month is really sufficient only in Chemnitz and Magdeburg.
“The price hammer is yet to come”
“The price hammer is yet to come,” warns Voigtländer. “We worked with data as of June 30, but the costs for heat and electricity are likely to have risen significantly since then and will continue to rise in the coming months.” The students are unfortunate that their incomes cannot keep up with the drastically increased costs. “Most student jobs have been eliminated during the pandemic,” says Uwe Schroeder-Wildberg, CEO of MLP. “There is a lack of income for two years and the financial reserves are often used up.”
As a result, most students cannot respond to high inflation by resorting to savings or by lowering their savings rate. Schroeder-Wildberg advises paying more attention to Bafög, student loans and scholarships and also reminds parents to make early provisions for the expensive phase of their children’s studies.
Voigtländer has already noticed an evasive movement: instead of 20 percent of a cohort, 26 percent are still living with their parents during their studies. He appealed to politicians to do more for students, in view of the rapidly increasing construction prices, for example, to forego some regulations on certain standards in housing construction in order to make construction cheaper and also to build student dormitories again, which is often the cheapest form student housing, for which there are very long waiting lists.
In the face of an 18 percent increase in the construction price index and at the same time higher interest rates for construction loans, private investors are pulling back. “Even less is being built and the political goal of 400,000 new homes a year is no longer realistic,” says Schroeder-Wildberg. “But these new apartments will be urgently needed.”