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Dream house: District developments – the solution to housing shortages in metropolitan areas?

Real estate in the city centers is too expensive. But things are not looking good on the periphery of the metropolitan areas either. Housing shortage dominates the headlines. The offer is too expensive for the average citizen. How can we solve this?

According to the Federal Statistical Office, the population in Germany increased by around 2.5 million people between 2012 and 2018. By the end of 2019, according to an initial estimate by Destatis Einwohner, there were around 200,000 more inhabitants than at the end of 2018. A new high of 83.2 million, while population growth slowed for the first time since reunification.

Nevertheless, according to the Institute of German Economy in Cologne, an additional 342,000 residential units will be required in 2019 and 2020 alone. Even if the number of completed domiciles has increased steadily since 2012, it cannot meet demand. For example, in 2018, contrary to the housing requirement, only 287,000 residential units were completed. A drop of 55,000 units while demand continues to rise.

The housing offer for high demands in the luxury segment in city centers for tenants and buyers with above-average incomes is still high. Not a new development, as international comparison cities are soaring to ever new (price) heights. Affordable living space for the average Otto is falling by the wayside. Demand exceeds supply.

On the one hand, it is becoming apparent that densifying settlement areas by closing construction gaps – while maintaining green spaces – is not enough to meet demand. On the other hand, however, there are basically enough properties and conversion areas available for the development of settlements and neighborhoods. In this context, two projects in particular stand out:

Greencity Zurich impressively shows how modern people can work close to the city center and live sustainably at the same time. In the Swiss metropolis, the over 160,000 square meter area is a prime example of the creation of new living space that is designed both ecologically and economically. Once a sleepy nest on the outskirts, Greencity is now synonymous with a modern 2000 watt society of 1,700 residents. In addition to around 3,000 workplaces, a lively infrastructure is being set up at the same time, just eight minutes from Zurich main station.

In Germany we have similar options: at the end of the mining era, numerous areas that could be developed lay fallow. One example is the Duisburg inner harbor, where around 3,000 residential units were created in the first step through conversion, with more to follow. Also a political goal of the government coalition, which wants to create around 1.5 million additional apartments by the end of 2021.

Precisely for this reason, local authorities and municipalities are required to provide complementary settlement areas for affordable residential property, also in order to create a socially balanced mix. With intelligent project development and the settlement of different types of housing, from terraced houses to apartment buildings, this could also be achieved in a short time, especially if the standardized construction is taken into account.

If a property is large enough, districts can be supplemented with infrastructural components. In this way, not only is living in the city attractive, but the outskirts are also becoming more attractive. And when we’re talking about winners. There are two sides: on the one hand, there are municipalities that continue to develop their municipalities and strengthen them economically. And on the other hand, there are people who live in attractive, affordable surroundings.

A guest contribution by Otfried Sinner, CEO of Traumhaus AG

Live stream on December 14, 2020 from 6 p.m .:

With Hans-Werner Sinn, former President of the Ifo Institute.

With Hans-Werner Sinn, Former President of the Ifo Institute: Corona and the miraculous increase in money in Europe
– Here is the stream! –

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