Real Estate News - March 2022

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March 2022

High inflation forces ECB to tighten monetary policy - construction interest rates to rise

Due to the war in Ukraine, energy prices are rising and with them the inflation rate. At its meeting on March 10, the European Central Bank (ECB) reacted to this development and announced a tighter monetary policy. Although the key interest rate will remain at zero percent for the time being, the multi-billion bond purchases are to be curtailed more quickly. This is already having an impact on construction interest rates: these have risen significantly since the beginning of the year. According to an evaluation of the loan broker Interhyp, the interest rates for real estate loans with a duration of ten years increased from around one percent in January to more than 1.6 percent at the beginning of March - the fastest and strongest increase over the past ten years. Due to the expected prolonged high inflation, experts also predict rising interest rates in the long term.

Survey: Up to 500,000 apartments needed for refugees from Ukraine

An analysis by the Empirica research institute on behalf of the German Property Federation (ZIA) puts the need for housing for people fleeing the war in Ukraine to Germany at up to 500,000. The authors of the study expect up to 1.29 million refugees, or at least 310,000, which would correspond to a need for 120,000 apartments. Given that the refugees from Ukraine have a comparatively high level of education, they are expected to seek housing primarily in cities with already tight housing markets against the backdrop of a shortage of skilled workers. As a result, less than half of the need for additional housing would have to be newly built.

Building sector fails to meet climate targets once again

According to preliminary figures presented by the Federal Environment Agency and the Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection on March 15, Germany failed to meet its climate targets in 2021. Compared to the previous year, CO2 emissions rose by 4.5 percent. Compared with the reference year 1990, emissions thus fell by only 38.7 percent - compared with the target of a 40 percent reduction by 2020. For the second year in succession, the building sector also significantly exceeded the annual emission levels set out in the Federal Climate Protection Act. Instead of the targeted 113 million tons, around 115 million tons of CO2 were emitted. The Federal Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Construction, Klara Geywitz, announced that measures to reduce greenhouse gases would be stepped up. Among other things, she held out the prospect of further developing building subsidy programs in line with demand.

Federal government tops up newly launched KfW subsidies

The KfW subsidy for building refurbishment, which was relaunched in February, will be topped up by the federal government by a further five billion euros. Due to high demand, the 9.5 billion euros originally allocated to the program would have run out early. Previously, the funding had been halted by German Economics Minister Robert Habeck on January 23, 2022 due to a lack of funds. Following massive criticism from the housing and real estate industry, the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Finance agreed to process all applications submitted before the stop in accordance with the old standards and to resume its support, with new funds, in February on the same terms. In addition to the promotion of energy-efficient refurbishment, the promotion of new construction is also to be regulated in the "Climate-friendly construction" program from January 1, 2023 at the latest.

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