In 2021, homeownership in Germany was around 59 percent more affordable than renting your home. This is the gist of the ACCENTRO Housing Cost Report, now in its seventh edition and once again compiled in collaboration with the German Economic Institute (IW). Within the framework of the survey, owner-occupiers’ housing costs and rents were examined in all of the 401 rural and urban districts of Germany, and compared. The ACCENTRO Housing Cost Report 2022 also shows that owner-occupiers have enjoyed lower costs of living since 2020 – both in the countryside and in metropolitan areas. In cooperation with
Owner-occupiers’ housing costs are in decline whereas rents are on the rise. Here is why: Despite the steady growth in property prices, the persistently low interest rate environment in 2021 enabled home buyers to take out affordable mortgage loans nonetheless. By the end of the year, owner-occupiers’ housing costs had declined by 0.11 euros per square metre and month when compared to the previous year, whereas new-tenancy rents had continued to climb and were twice as high per square metre on average. Property buyers benefited not least from the application of the “contracting-party-pays principle” to estate agent fees.
Population-weighted German average, in euros per square metre of dwelling floor area and month
Owner-occupiers are at an advantage everywhere in Germany – going as high as 82.9 percent in the rural district of Sömmerda in Thuringia but being nearly as significant even in metropolises like Düsseldorf with a cost advantage of 65.7 percent. And that is not all: The Housing Cost Report shows clearly that the owner-occupiers’ housing cost advantage increased between 2020 and 2021 regardless of the proximity to major cities – and did so by up to seven percent.
Prices for residential freehold property maintained their upward growth trajectory in 2021, too, fuelled by low borrowing rates and strong demand among potential home buyers. Annuities moved up in sync with the trend. Here is what the ACCENTRO Housing Cost Report found in its comparative view of districts nationwide: Annuities in Germany experienced their fastest growth well away from the metropolises. In fact, the nation’s capital ranked close to the bottom of the list, placing 264th among the 401 districts.
The recent outbreak of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine has indirectly impacted the German real estate market in the form of rising construction and energy costs. In anticipation of initial interest rate moves by the European Central Bank by summer 2022, there has already been a significant growth in interest expenses lately. According to the ACCENTRO Housing Cost Report 2022, the future interest rate development depends essentially on the outcome of the war in Ukraine and the future course of the coronavirus pandemic, but there is a real chance that owner-occupiers’ housing costs could go up. That being said, IW concludes on the strength of its interest rate scenarios that owner-occupiers’ housing cost advantages will remain significant in most areas of Germany even if the level of interest rates were to rise to three percent. In short, homeownership remains quite attractive despite the current interest rate reversal.