The federal government is actually planning 400,000 new apartments every year to meet the high demand. In 2021, however, not even 300,000 apartments will be completed - the first decline in a decade. Scarcity of raw materials, high prices and a lack of staff are the main reasons.
The number of newly built apartments in Germany fell below the 300,000 mark again last year. With 293,393 units completed, the policy target of 400,000 new apartments per year was clearly missed. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number was 4.2 percent below the previous year's level. In 2020, for the first time since 2001, more than 300,000 new apartments were built in Germany. The annual increase in the number of completed apartments that began in 2011 did not continue in 2021, as the Wiesbaden authority announced.
Many construction projects are also stagnating because workers are missing and the prices for building materials have risen sharply. In addition, there are delivery bottlenecks and shortages of raw materials such as wood and steel. The increased global demand is also increasing the pressure on building materials.
"The current figures from the Federal Statistical Office for the completion of construction work for apartments in Germany cannot satisfy me as Federal Building Minister," said Federal Building Minister Klara Geywitz. The German state has no influence on conditions such as raw material shortages or delivery bottlenecks, Geywitz continued. However, builders rightly expect the federal government to do what is within its sphere of influence. "So digitize approval and planning processes, harmonize the 16 state regulations in a meaningful way and ease the conditions for serial construction. Specifically, we will examine individual regulations with the federal states that make little sense in their regional differences."
According to estimates by politicians and the construction industry, 350,000 to 400,000 apartments have to be completed in Germany every year in order to meet the high demand for real estate and to combat the housing shortage in cities. The federal government has also set itself the goal of providing more affordable housing.
In contrast, the number of building permits for apartments in 2021 rose by 3.3 percent to 380,736 compared to the previous year and was thus significantly higher than the number of building completions. This has now resulted in a backlog of approved but uncompleted homes totaling 846,467 homes (67,035 vs. 2020).
The figures from the Federal Office include the completion of new buildings as well as construction work on existing buildings.