Whether it is business, wanderlust, or love that compels people to uproot their lives, Munich, with its gorgeous architecture, has definitely become a destination for people from all walks of life. Once uprooted, however, finding an apartment on the other end can prove quite difficult.
In response to a "housing crisis", the Bavarian government has recently announced the plans for a significant increase of construction of residential buildings in Munich. The number of permits given out in January and February increased by 20.1% in comparison to last year, in hopes that these buildings will actually be constructed. The goal is to build 70,000 new homes a year in Bavaria, much banking on the role of investors, whose activity is key to maintaining this figure.
the Bavarian State have increased funds for housing by EUR5 million this year, bringing the total to EUR160 million in 2013 and an expected EUR50 million increase by 2014.
Munich has long had a housing problem, as students, expats, and locals alike have trouble finding an apartment suited to their needs, that is also within a reasonable budget. Similarly, those to whom Munich has been a longtime home see the frightening prospect of raised rents in their immediate future. The struggle to find an apartment leaves enormous power with the landlord, who can charge exploitative amounts on an apartment because of the buyers' lack of other options.
The average rent per square meter in Bavaria is EUR12.50, which is almost double what it is throughout the rest of Germany. Purchasing a home in Munich is 124% higher than the average in the rest of Germany, at just under EUR4,000 per square meter.
Many people are opting to move further out to the countryside or are even being forced to consider other cities because of the high price of living. That leaves Munich full of the wealthy, who can pay rent or afford to buy a property in the city as a result of a high paying job or a large inheritance. Due to the amount of interest in properties in Munich, it is seen as one of the top cities to invest in in Germany.
The Opera at the infamous Maximilianstrasse has even taken some space from their building to create small 85 m2 apartments, which go for the price of around EUR4000 a month. While these apartments help bring in revenue for the Opera to keep it running, it does little for the housing situation of Munich, with huge price tags for tiny spaces.
Apartment-seekers with a long list of musts for their dream home now have to compromise in order to stay within their budget and work around properties that are actually available. Sadly, even with compromises, once the apartment has been found it is in the hands of the owner to decide who the place will go to, a death sentence for some.
A renter with a pet and one without, the apartment goes to the latter. The landlord is in the position to critique every aspect of the potential renters lifestyle, and can crush the apartment dream for a minute detail. Young people, students, and newcomers may automatically get the short end of the stick, as partying, low income, job insecurity, or short-term stays are a turn off to many landlords.
Another lesser-known issue in renting in Munich is that the costs do not stop at renting a place. For expatriates this often comes as a surprise. Unlike many British or American homes, there are many costs for the renter after moving in. Many German homes do not have built in closets, light fixtures, a washer/dryer, or even a kitchen.
When moving from out of town or from a different country or continent, these extra costs may be shocking, as even more money has to be put into buying items to make the home livable which are usually a given elsewhere. Those in hopes of renting a fully furnished place will be looking for a long time, as these are rare and also much more expensive.
The less expensive areas of Munich have seen an influx of richer tenants, which in turn push out poorer, long-term residents from their neighborhoods. These situations have been met with anger and resistance and entire neighborhoods of angry residents have protested in an attempt to be heard.
There is nothing quite so personal as someone's home. With the fear of not being able to realize a dream, or being pushed out of city due to increased rents, emotions can run high. With the current efforts of the Bavarian Government, there may be a future for people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and financial backgrounds to find a home in Munich.