The Housing Cost Report 2021

The ACCENTRO Housing Cost Report, now already in its sixth edition, essentially compares rental costs with the housing costs borne by homeowners. To this end, the German Economic Institute (IW) analyzed and compared rents and owner-occupiers’ housing costs for all 401 districts and independent cities across Germany. The calculation is based on the net rent versus the owner-occupancy costs which break down into the purchase price, the incidental acquisition costs, the mortgage interest and the loss of interest on equity capital along with reinstatement costs and depreciation.

Conclusion: In 2020, buying residential property in Germany was 56 percent more affordable than renting, this being the nationwide average.

Evolution of the average economic benefits of homeownership nationwide

Renting or buying: what is most rewarding, and where?

In 2020, prices for residential real estate continued to see significant growth. This is attributable, for one thing, to the fact that interest on mortgage loans took a nosedive – while the interest paid on alternative investments declined at the same time. In some regions, these two aspects actually combined to make renting your home cheaper than buying one. A good way to measure the economic advantage is via the user-cost-of-housing approach that lets you compare rental costs with the recurring costs that a homeowner pays from time to time. So, where in Germany is it still more lucrative to buy? You will find the answer in the second part of our Housing Cost Report.

COVID-19 and real estate: How will we be living tomorrow?

There is a growing trend among families to move out into the suburbs – the idea being to have more space for a home office, children’s rooms or a private garden for the same kind of rent. The tendency toward mobile working has made it less important to live close to your workplace. For a detailed discussion of the target groups for which the city remains interesting even now, why the major cities will keep growing still, and in what ways COVID-19 will impact these trends, see the latest edition of the ACCENTRO Housing Cost Report.

Relation of residential rents to prices in German metropolises in 2020



Frankfurt am Main





Price per sqm5.546€4.010€5.689€6.482€4.104€8.411€5.496€

Cost advantage of owner occupancy in 2020

Cost advantage of living in an ownership apartment over inhabiting a comparable rental flat

2020: a year of lasting consequences?

The past year has not only tested our strength personally, but also challenged the economy, the body politic and the real estate market. While advanced economies generally seemed to have coped better with the crisis, worries over the future are growing here in Germany. And still: Real estate remains a much sought-after financial investment. But over time, the priorities of tenants could shift: Although the largest German cities will keep growing – the need for more space within your own four walls has grown immensely during the pandemic. And the best place to find extra space is beyond the city gates.

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