Where living is still cheap

Real estate has become more expensive in recent years. But not in every state. There is a clear divide between west and east. And living in one country is particularly cheap.

Saarbrücken: Housing is still cheap in Saarland.

DIt is a truism that houses and apartments have become more expensive in the past five years. This applies not only to the big cities like Berlin, where buyers paid an average of almost a third less for their own home compared to 2018, but also to the surrounding area: five years earlier, Brandenburger even spent more than 40 percent less on apartments . These figures have now been presented by the Potsdam specialist for building finance, Dr. Small, before.

But prices for apartments rose sharply elsewhere as well: In Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, for example, where they were around 60 percent more expensive – an average increase of 10 percent annually. Other federal states, on the other hand, lag far behind: North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony, for example, but also interestingly Hamburg, where the annual rate of price increases is only 4 to 5 percent. To be completely silent for once about Thuringia, where apartments were even 2 percent cheaper within five years.

If you compare new and old apartments, there are interesting differences. In Bavaria, for example, apartments in old buildings became more expensive, while prices per square meter for new apartments rose by only 29 percent and thus to a lesser extent than in most other federal states. In Bremen, the prices for new apartments remain constant, while apartments in old buildings have increased in price by half.

The gap in house prices is less pronounced. While the spread between Thuringia at one end and Brandenburg at the other end is 70 percentage points for apartments, it is only 26 percentage points between Saarland and Berlin for houses.

In most federal states, real estate buyers can even cost more apartments than houses. Only in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen and Saarland are the average square meter prices paid for apartments below those for houses. The most expensive federal state is Hamburg with prices averaging 4,370 euros for apartments and 3,690 euros for houses. The Saarlanders, on the other hand, pay an average of almost 3,000 euros per square meter less for apartments and around 2,300 euros for houses.

In fact, the ranking of prices reads almost like that of the gross domestic product per capita. The Bremen residents are an exception: despite having the second highest income, they find themselves in the lower half of property prices. In contrast, the people of Brandenburg live rather expensive. If you transfer the per capita income to the square meter prices, an interesting pattern emerges.

Accordingly, there are in the eastern half of the state – including Bavaria, but without Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt – significantly fewer square meters of apartment for the money than in the western half. This shows an interesting interplay between income and house prices, but it is more complex than the fact that apartments are expensive where income is high and vice versa. In the case of houses, the border shifts to the north.

Overall, the data should not be overestimated. Bavaria, for example, shows a large gap between rural areas and Munich on the other side. The aggregated data are only an average value, which limits their informative value.