Federal housing policy meets with criticism

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Tue 23rd Feb, 2021

This Tuesday, the German government plans to take stock of its "housing offensive". Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), Construction Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU), Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) are expected to appear. In the view of the grand coalition, most of the goals have been achieved in the creation of affordable housing. Several social associations, the tenants' association as well as top associations of the real estate industry, however, emphasized considerable deficits on Monday.

"Of the 1.5 million new homes actually planned, only 1.2 million homes will have been built by the end of the legislative period, 300,000 too few," said the president of the Federal Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies (GdW), Axel Gedaschko. Building and housing in Germany lacked the necessary "momentum". The German Tenants' Association criticized the loss of more and more social housing.

Experts complain that the federal government is making its balance sheet look good by including in the new social housing units those that only exist in the shell or on paper. For socially disadvantaged, large families or people with disabilities, affordable housing is almost impossible to find in many cities, criticized social associations.

At the 2018 housing summit, the federal government had promised five billion euros for the construction of 1.5 million social housing units by 2021. More than 100,000 additional social housing units were to be built, about 375,000 per year. In 2019, however, only 293,000 apartments were completed, compared with just over 283,000 the year before. At the same time, the number of apartments for which the social commitment is expiring is growing. Nevertheless, the SPD drew a positive balance. By the end of the year, about 1.2 million apartments would be reached, said the SPD's construction policy spokesman in the Bundestag, Bernhard Daldrup. One could "talk confidently" about this balance.

The top real estate association ZIA accused the government of doing too little to combat the rise in construction costs and building land prices. The government had "gambled away the achievement of the goal itself with various rent regulations and most recently also with the Building Land Mobilization Act." Construction Minister Seehofer's bill is controversial within the coalition. "We will impose stricter limits on the conversion of rental apartments into condominiums," Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) told the newspapers of the Funke-Mediengruppe. Such conversions, she said, are often the first step toward displacement.

Photo by Chromatograph


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