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Housing policy: The number of social housing continues to decline

Housing policy: The number of social housing continues to decline

The traffic light coalition is abandoning its goal of providing 100,000 new social housing units every year. The population continues to shrink.

The number of social housing units in Germany fell again last year. At the end of 2023, there were around 1.072 million such apartments for people with low incomes nationwide, around 15,300 fewer than a year earlier. This is evident from the federal government’s response to a question from the Left Party parliamentary group, which the dpa has received.

The construction of 49,430 social housing units was newly funded last year. The traffic light government had actually planned to create 100,000 new social housing units every year. But the bottom line is that their number has been declining for years because many existing social housing units are no longer subject to rent controls and can then be rented out at higher prices.

“Historic low”

The Left’s housing policy expert, Caren Lay, who made the request, spoke of a “historic low”. “In view of the unbridled rise in rents and the increasing housing shortage, this is a fiasco,” she explained. According to the figures, the loss of social housing has recently even increased: in 2022, around 14,000 social housing units were lost.

When comparing the federal states, the development varies. According to Lay, the stock fell by four digits in North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin, Rhineland-Palatinate, Brandenburg and Lower Saxony. In Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, however, the number of apartments increased by more than a thousand.

North Rhine-Westphalia is the front runner

There was a particularly large number of new funding last year in the two most populous federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, followed by Berlin and Hamburg. The most social housing units overall were recorded in North Rhine-Westphalia with 426,755, Bavaria with 134,793 and Berlin (99,849).

Rents for social housing are regulated by the state. Only people who the authorities see as having a special need are allowed to live there. However, after a certain period of time, the apartments can be rented out normally on the market. The duration of this bond is regulated differently in each country.

Lay criticized that the federal funding for social housing construction of 2.5 billion euros last year was obviously not enough. “Especially now in the construction crisis, the public sector must build and promote more itself,” she demanded. At least 20 billion euros would have to be made available every year for public social and non-profit housing.

Source: Stern

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