The German capital’s rental market is undergoing dramatic changes. The amount of affordable apartments to rent is has been going down, and a trend reversal is not really in sight, as DW’s Janelle Dumalaon reports.
Couples, students and young professionals mill around in front of a building in south Berlin’s trendy Neukölln district, drawn by an advertised viewing of a studio apartment. Around 20, then 30 hopeful flat-hunters patiently trudge up the stairs to the fourth floor, to inspect the 40-square meter studio apartment.
An hour later, at another viewing for another, slightly bigger apartment a block away, the same group of people, save for a few additions, would run into each other again – and probably not for the last time. It came as a result of surprise to few of them – by now, most have learned that competition for an apartment to rent in Berlin is increasingly fierce, and only an exhaustive search bears fruit.
Berlin, once known for the cheap housing that’s attracted especially artists and other people from creative disciplines, is struggling to cover a demand that’s skyrocketed in the last years, pushed up by increasing migration to the city.
Lengthy landlord wishlists
“The competition is the hardest part,” said Angela Buch, a Berlin-based editor of scientific publications. I go to these mass apartment viewings, I’ve even been to one where 80 people came at a time.”
The demand means landlords and lessors really are spoiled for choice, Buch said.
“The application requirements for applying for an apartment are getting more and more outrageous,” said Bush. I’ve had to submit complete bank account statements, and many landlords want to see proof of permanent job contracts, which not that many people really have in Berlin.”