Improving Affordable Housing In Berlin

Carter Boehm discusses affordable housing in Berlin


Affordable housing is slowly becoming the thorn in the side of most urban cities. With more people flocking to cities in search of employment opportunities or proximity to resources, it is no wonder various housing authorities are facing challenges in providing housing options for people who are not able to live in neighborhoods with a high income bracket requirement. In covering affordable housing in the international space, City Lab reports on the resurgence of affordable housing in Berlin, and how the city is making unique strides to tackle its growing population.

By next year, many Berlin housing projects can expect a decrease in their rent by almost three thirds of their income. Since the cost of public housing in the city is too high, the tenants will now pay directly to how much they earn. This is new and innovative for most cities, especially one like Berlin.

City Lab reports that, “ In a city with a high number of public housing resident, the effect of the new rule could be striking. Of Berlin’s current 3.5 million residents, about 250,000 people live in housing projects, spread across some 125, 000 apartment.” Berlin city has also a record number of 280,000 apartments owned by four primary state property companies that will likewise be subject to the new rules.

To qualify for this housing, a single person should be earning no more than $18,040 and a couple should earn no more than $27,000. Tenants who also live in apartments without a proper record of income will be subject to a state audit to ensure that these policies are mandated. The question on everyone’s mind is – how did public housing get so damn high?

It is important to note that Berlin typically offers one of the world’s best public housing. In 2014. the average private rent in the city was $8 per square meter. This situation has been attributed a funding problem which covered the cities administration in the past years. Berlin city allowed companies to construct social housing, and they charged high-ish rents that the state then subsidized. This subsidy was eventually cut by 13 percent annually, and the letting companies were allowed to make up for the shortfall. The great thing about this new innovative administration, is its ability to keep low income earners in cities, despite the rising cost of rent. Berlin is still a city where majority of the tenants rent their homes and property. Still, an ongoing visage of a city threatened by rent hikes and evictions continually plagues this discussion on affordable housing. Fears from the middle class, whose housing security is now heightened are also on the forefront. The only question we can ask, at the end of the day, is what will Berlin do?

To learn more about affordable housing in Berlin, visit this article by City Labs