Cities and Neighbourhoods

Construction boom in Berlin: number of building permissions increase strongly


December 2014

The year 1995 with a total of 30,000 approved apartments ranked number one regarding the issued building permits per year. About 20 years later, the record is about to be surpassed according to the current study ‘Wohnungen – Von der Baugenehmigung zur Fertigstellung’ (Condominiums – from building permit to completion) published by the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB)’. Therefore the number of building permissions during the years of 2015 and 2017 could climb up to 35,500 condominiums per year.

55,000 new apartments planned until 2017

Ever since 2011 the number of approved apartments increased constantly year by year. During the first nine months of 2014 alone, 14,466 apartments were permitted – making for an increase of 61.4 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. Thereof 12,500 apartments are supposed to be newly constructed, whereas 1,900 condos are supposed to be generated from existing buildings by e.g. the development of unused attic levels. In comparison with 2013, that leads to a plus of 76.3 percent respectively 4.3 percent. Altogether 55,000 new condominiums are supposed to be developed until 2017. Before the end of the current year an expected 8,200 apartments are assumed to already be achieved.

Apartment Seekers have to stay patient

New apartments are desperately needed. The continuous immigration towards the capital – an average of roughly 40,000 people per year – results in the demand for living room permanently exceeding the supply. Consequences are rising rents and purchase prices. The improving new construction activities are supposed to ease Berlin’s housing market, however delayed. Empirically many years pass before an approved apartment actually gets build. Furthermore, not every project which is filed for an application is realized. The IBB-analysis shows that the completion rate of the previous years stands at 70 percent. For Berlin to burst at the seams during the next years, due to the construction boom is not to be expected according to the IBB prognosis. Because in comparison with other metropolises, Berlin provides abundant area potential, that can be utilized for the construction of new apartments.

Building permits enjoy upward trend nationwide

Not only in Berlin, but in other urban centers, an ease in the housing market is expected. Since 2010 an increase of the applications for building permissions across Germany is recorded – a trend that is forecasted to continue in 2014. According to the German Office of Statistics, 5.2 percent more building permissions were issued between January and September of 2014 in comparison with the numbers of last year. A total of 212,000 apartments are currently in the planning.

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