Housing market in university cities is becoming more and more expensive

D.he corona pandemic burdens students twice: while rents are rising even higher, many students are losing their part-time jobs. The “MLP Student Housing Report 2020”, which will be presented this Thursday morning to the F.A.Z. however in advance.

For the study, the IW Cologne examined the housing market in the 30 leading German university cities. The result is clear: In 27 of the 30 cities, rents for a student model apartment continued to rise. In Munich, a typical student apartment was 24 euros more expensive in the second quarter alone, in Frankfurt by 10 euros and in Darmstadt by 4 euros. Only in one city (Greifswald) did the rent stay constant, only in two cities did it become cheaper. The authors cite two reasons for the general price increase. On the one hand, there are still too few apartments in central locations. On the other hand, “the demand gap created by the online semester was closed by other tenant groups,” says Michael Voigtländer, the IW real estate specialist. Tenants, who were typically looking for more expensive apartments, would now have asked in the next cheaper segment because of the economically uncertain situation in the corona pandemic.

In order to make the different cities in Germany comparable, the authors of the study assume that the assumed model apartment is 30 square meters and has normal furnishings. It is on the second floor, near the university, and is ten to twenty years old. For such an apartment you pay the most in Munich (as for all other living classes): € 724 warm. In Frankfurt 508 euros are due, in Darmstadt it is 440 euros. However, it is also much cheaper. Those who are ready to move to Magdeburg only pay 245 euros a month. Another option is to get an apartment in the university dormitory. However, since a relatively large number of students do not get an apartment there, the study works on the assumption that the students have to search on the open market.

Despite the recent increase in student loans, this state social benefit is “nowhere near enough”, according to the authors. Even the highest housing surcharge of 325 euros per month contained therein does not cover the rent of the typical model apartment in almost any of the 30 cities examined. In the extreme example of Munich, students only get an apartment of 15 square meters for rent without any cold items. Things are getting tight in other cities too. In Frankfurt there is 20 square meters for this money, in Darmstadt 23. And again Magdeburg beckons: In the central German city on the Elbe, just under 50 square meters are cold in for 325 euros.

At this point, the study has a small weakness: The apartment size that can be afforded with the Bafög housing supplement is calculated on the basis of the average net rent. The costs for the student model apartment, on the other hand, are considered to be rent including additional costs and other factors such as the year of construction of the building. Accordingly, the values ​​cannot be compared exactly with each other.

It is particularly bitter that many students lost their part-time jobs during the spring lockdown. These are usually in economic sectors with many interpersonal contacts, such as the catering industry, in the event sector or at trade fairs, all of which are particularly affected by layoffs and short-time work due to the pandemic. This is confirmed, for example, by a representative survey by the personnel service provider Zenjob from June this year, according to which four out of ten students had lost their part-time jobs. One in three stated that they were very worried about the current financial situation. “This means that many of them should no longer be able to finance their apartments from their own resources,” the study concluded. The Zenjob survey also came to this conclusion: 22 percent of those questioned were no longer able to pay their rent and bills as usual and had to borrow money from their family or friends.

Nevertheless, there is good news: At least after completing your studies, satisfaction with your own living situation increases significantly. With the entry into real working life and higher pay, academics have a high level of satisfaction with living, with an average of 7.65 out of 10 points, even before their 30th birthday. With increasing age and thus in most cases an even higher salary, this continues to rise.


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