So much goes into rent in big cities from the salary

Every eighth German city household spends more than half of its income on rent. But the situation has improved recently for most of them.

Housing complex in Munich

Fast every second of the around 8.4 million households with a rental apartment in a major German city spends more than 30 percent of their net income on rent, according to a study. A good quarter of households have to spend at least 40 percent of their income on rent including heating and ancillary costs, according to a study sponsored by the union-affiliated Hans Böckler Foundation. Almost 12 percent of large city households even need more than half of their income for rent.

According to the information, the researchers from the Humboldt University of Berlin have evaluated data from the microcensus for 2018. According to this, the financial burden on tenants has indeed decreased in recent years, because the incomes of residents of the big cities have increased more on average than the housing costs. The average load rate of tenant households fell from 31.2 percent of income in 2001 to 29.6 percent in 2018. For many poorer households in particular, however, the situation has hardly relaxed, for them the rent continues to be a particularly big financial problem .

Above all, there was a lack of small and cheap apartments

The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also analyzed the burden on households with housing costs. According to his data, in 2019 almost 14 percent of the population (around 11.4 million people) lived in households that were financially overburdened by high housing costs. The authority sees an overload of housing costs when a household spends more than 40 percent of its disposable income on housing – regardless of whether the person concerned is renting or living in their own four walls and paying off a loan, for example. According to Destatis, the overload rate has decreased slightly since 2014.

The increased construction activity has at best only slightly improved the housing shortage in recent years, emphasized the Böckler Foundation, referring to the study. Above all, there was a lack of small and inexpensive apartments, and the supply had become significantly scarcer over the years.

Even assuming an optimal distribution of the available living space, 1.5 million households could not be supplied with affordable and adequate housing. This “hard core” of the housing shortage affects over 18 percent of all tenant households in large cities. The supply of apartments that cost more than 15 euros gross, however, has risen significantly by over 535,000 since 2006.

According to the study, overload due to high rents is not limited to certain types of cities. Thus, among the cities with the highest load quota for warm rent in relation to income are comparatively wealthy and “expensive” cities such as Düsseldorf, Wiesbaden or Darmstadt as well as the economically rather weak Bremerhaven, Recklinghausen or Mönchengladbach. The rents there are lower, but the incomes are also lower.