Real Estate News - April 2023

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April 2023

Will there be a nationwide solar obligation for residential and commercial buildings?

The federal government is planning a nationwide solar obligation for private homes and commercial new buildings, which has already come into force in some federal states. Baden-Württemberg is considered a pioneer and introduced a solar obligation for new residential buildings in May 2022, which has now become mandatory for all fundamental roof renovations since January 1, 2023: at least 60 percent of the solar-suitable area must be covered with photovoltaic modules. The installation of a solar thermal system is also possible.

At the beginning of 2023, Berlin introduced a general solar obligation for new buildings and existing buildings in private ownership. In Hamburg, a solar obligation for new buildings has been in place since January 2023, and a corresponding regulation for existing buildings is to follow in 2025. Bavaria also plans a solar roof obligation for new commercial and industrial buildings as well as non-residential buildings and, from January 2025, for new residential buildings. Bremen has passed a solar law, which is due to come into force in May 2023 and provides for a photovoltaic obligation for new buildings and renovations. In the European Parliament, a mandatory installation of photovoltaic systems from 2032 is being discussed.

Climate bonus for heating system replacement

As recently decided, from 2024 onwards, apartment owners will only be allowed to install oil and gas heating systems in exceptional cases. From this point on, as much as possible of every newly installed heating system must be operated with renewable energy sources, to the extent of 65 percent. To promote the replacement of old fossil fuel heating systems in existing buildings, there will be a new subsidy. This is intended to facilitate the replacement of old heating systems with a more climate-friendly system. The subsidy rate is fixed at 30 percent for all heating alternatives possible in existing buildings and according to the new Energy Saving Ordinance. Priority should be given to the replacement of old and particularly inefficient heating systems.

The "Climate Bonus I" subsidy of 20 percent can also be granted if citizens are not obliged to replace their old heating systems according to the new Energy Saving Ordinance, but should still receive incentives for a faster transformation. This concerns the replacement of coal stoves as well as oil and gas boilers that are older than 30 years. Low-income owners should also be able to afford the heating system replacement with this subsidy. The "Climate Bonus II" is also 20 percent and will be granted when additional energy-efficient renovation measures are necessary beyond the heating system replacement - for example, if the façade needs to be insulated or windows need to be replaced. In addition, there will also be promotional loans for the heating system replacement to reduce the financial burden on owners.

Which apartments are in demand on the market

Despite rising interest rates and high real estate prices, every sixth German plans to buy a property. This is the result of a survey by YouGov on behalf of Postbank Immobilien. However, this survey also finds that demand in the real estate market has noticeably declined. The reason: many prospective buyers are calculating narrowly. More than two-thirds of those surveyed are concerned that they will have to give up their dream of home ownership if acquisition costs continue to rise.

However, prices for apartments and houses have already fallen for the third consecutive quarter in the first quarter of 2023, while the supply on the market has increased significantly. Compared to the previous year, there are currently 48 percent more apartments and 61 percent more houses for sale on the market. The real estate market is characterized by falling prices, rising sales offers, and falling transactions.

Half of the apartments are in need of renovation

Nearly half of all apartments in Germany require energy renovation, according to an analysis of the portfolio of mortgage broker Interhyp. The company had its inventory reviewed by valuation firm Sprengnetter, which found that almost half of the approximately 100,000 buildings financed in 2020 and 2021 were in the low energy efficiency classes F, G, or H. This means that an energy renovation is urgently needed for these buildings. According to Sprengnetter, few financial service providers have any current sustainability-related information on their buildings. The EU recently adopted stricter requirements for the energy efficiency of buildings, and Germany aims to be climate neutral by 2045. Heating and hot water for homes account for nearly one-quarter of CO₂ emissions, and according to an analysis by EY, about 80 percent of all buildings still need to be renovated to achieve the goal of climate neutrality.

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