Rents continue to rise significantly – especially in Berlin. Compared to the previous year, the asking prices for new rentals nationwide have increased by 4.6 percent in existing buildings and by 7.6 percent in new buildings, as the Immoscout platform announced on Thursday.

Accordingly, Berlin continued to record the highest price increases in the segment of existing rental apartments. According to the study, the net cold rents increased by eight percent compared to the previous year. In Cologne, rents for existing properties rose by 5.9 percent in the same period, by 5.2 percent in Frankfurt am Main and by 4.1 percent in Hamburg.

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“Even before the inflation rate soared, rents were rising significantly, especially in the big cities,” says Thomas Schroeter, Managing Director of ImmoScout24. The portal expects prices to continue to rise over the next twelve months. Berlin’s asking rents for existing properties are expected to rise by six percent, while experts are forecasting an increase of four percent in Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main, Munich and Cologne. In new construction, they expect eight percent in Berlin and six percent in the other major cities.

According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office, rents have recently risen significantly more slowly than the inflation rate. According to the latest figures, the increase in rents in May was 1.7 percent, while the inflation rate across all product groups was 7.9 percent. In contrast to the figures from Immoscout, the rents measured here include all rent payments, not just the new asking rents.

The energy prices in particular are currently becoming an increasing burden in the housing cost increases. You can see that at Immoscout as well. “The rapidly increasing energy and ancillary costs will have an even greater impact than the cold rent. With the ongoing development, they will become the second rent,” says Schroeter.

Immoscout calculates this using an existing rental apartment with gas heating as an example. The costs for heating and hot water increased by 35.7 percent from February 2021 to February 2022, according to the platform company, citing data from the Federal Statistical Office. The cost of electricity had increased by 13 percent during this period.

“In total, tenants in a typical apartment with 70 square meters have to pay around 31 euros more per month for their rent including electricity than a year ago,” says Immoscout. By the end of the year, there is a risk of an additional charge for heating, hot water and electricity of around 92 euros per month if energy costs continue to rise. For this size of apartment, this would correspond to around 1100 euros in additional costs per year.

The head of the Vonovia housing group, Rolf Buch, only caused a stir on Wednesday when he hinted in an interview with the “Handelsblatt” that rents might have to follow the development of inflation.

The Vonovia subsidiary Deutsche Wohnen then confirmed its voluntary hardship regulation on Thursday. “Our tenants do not have to worry that they may no longer be able to afford their apartments as a result of any rent adjustments,” said co-CEO Konstantina Kanellopoulos. When rent adjustments are made, the individual income and living conditions of those affected are taken into account. Affordability is a central characteristic of housing.