Socialising Berlin housing could bring rents down 16 percent, study finds
As Berlin remains in the grip of a housing crisis, a study by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation has found that expropriating housing from private landlords could bring down rents in the city by 16 percent.
Berlin rents could be brought down by 16 percent
A new report published by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, affiliated with Germany’s Left Party, has found that socialising housing in Berlin could bring down the current cost of renting in the German city by a whopping 16 percent. To conduct the study, researchers compared rent data from large housing corporations and state-owned housing associations.
In the report, the Foundation outlined three expected consequences, if Berlin local government were to take over property from private landlords and bring it back into public ownership.
The first would be a lowering or stagnation of rental costs, a shift which would have a significant impact for Berliners, in a city which has seen exponential rent rises in the past decade, and particularly in recent years. The second would be the possibility to provide more affordable housing for people in the city with low incomes. Finally, the Foundation’s report revealed that bringing housing back into public ownership would help to “counteract socio-spatial segregation in the capital”. An example of socio-spatial segregation could be residents being priced out of their home neighbourhoods because of rising rents.
New housing must also be built in Berlin
Despite the significant findings, the Foundation also warned that socialising housing in Berlin cannot be the sole answer to the city’s housing crisis. “Building more houses and regulating rental costs would also be necessary [in the scenario where housing was socialised in Berlin]”, the authors wrote.
However, if the Berlin government is to tackle the city’s housing crisis swiftly, the Foundation pressed that socialising housing would be the most effective way to ease the housing crisis.
Back in September 2021, people with German passports living in Berlin voted in the Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen referendum. 59,1 percent of residents in the city voted to expropriate housing that was once owned by the state and bring it into public ownership. So far, the local government has failed to implement the referendum’s demands and mayor Franziska Giffey has been accused of deliberately delaying the process. Giffey's government will be put to the test next month when Berlin residents return to the polls on February 12, after its 2021 federal and local election results were deemed illegitimate.
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