Berlin shows London the way to build rental market

The residential rental market in Berlin is growing rapidly, with potential lessons for those looking to improve the situation in London and other UK cities.

Like London, Berlin has been seeing a growing population, which increased by almost 50,000 from June 2012 to June 2013. Like London, the delivery of new homes is failing to keep up with demand – and rental prices are rising as a result.

Unlike London, the market and city authorities in Berlin are reacting, and new supply is being delivered. New building starts in the city in 2013 equated to 0.7% of the total stock, a figure fully 40% ahead of London.

A new report identifies a pipeline of 13,900 new homes for rent currently under development across 191 construction projects. Further projects are expected to come into the development pipeline, spurred on by local government. City authorities calculated 137,000 more new homes will be needed by 2025, or around 10,000 a year.

Breaking down the participants in the Berlin market, the research by Howoge and BulwienGesa identifies 63% of the projects originated by the private sector, 29% by municipalities, and 7.5% by cooperatives.

Rental remains the predominant home type in Berlin, with 86% of the city’s 1.9 million homes currently rented.
One way the city authorities have directly helped promote more building is by adding extra staff to district offices, and paying a bonus for each new approved home. Urban development contracts are used to help share the burden of local infrastructure, and the benefit of increased land values after development. More herer on how Berlin authorities are planning the growth of their city.

One comment

  1. When comparing Berlin to London, comparing the increase of rents to the proportional increase (or lack of increase) of incomes is important. Berlin’s income level is far below most bigger German cities, let alone other European capitals. Building homes isn’t enough here; controlling the rental sector and its speculation mechanisms are more important in a city like Berlin.

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