How migration impacts the housing market Image
The housing demand in Germany increases considerable until 2020. Foto: cinoby/iStock

Never before had so many people from foreign countries sought to live in Germany as in the last two years. Besides the internal migration from the European Union, the common run of people consists of refugees predominantly from Syria, the Balkans, and Afghanistan. As the situation in most of the metropolitan housing markets has already been tense prior to the so-called refugee crisis, the accommodation of migrated people has attracted increasing attention by the public, politics, and not least the construction industry. Hence, the study at hand, published in the current issue of Hypostat 2016 by the EMF, is a first approach to estimate the impact on the housing market and its implications for the construction demand in Germany.

The calculated total construction demand is based on the IW Construction Demand Model and additionally ascertains the impact of two different kinds of migration scenarios. While one scenario reflects the expectations of the federal government with a rather high number of refugees, the other scenario assumes a stop of migration from 2017 onwards. As both scenarios are based on rather extreme assumptions regarding the number of incoming migrants, these are used in order to obtain a forecast interval of how future construction demand might develop. To derive more meaningful conclusions, the computed results for Germany as a whole are disaggregated to the county level and compared to current construction activity.

It has been found that the housing demand in Germany increases considerable until 2020. As of scenario 1, we calculate an average annual housing demand of 380,000 housing units while the second scenario exhibits an according demand of 20 percent less (310,000 housing units). The additional construction demand that can be solely attributed to the increased migration ranges from 67,800 to 158,000 housing units dependent on the scenario type. The regional differentiation shows that the especially the metropolitan areas such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne face significantly higher demand relative to the supply of newly constructed buildings.

In order to address the excess demand and equilibrate the housing market, politics must bolster construction activity through the application of favorable arrangements and incentives for property developers and private building contractors. In this sense, existing barriers such as increasing real estate transaction taxes and financing restrictions as well as the short supply of construction sites are potential approaches for politics to accelerate construction and moderate the housing market.


Philipp Deschermeier / Björn Seipelt / Michael Voigtländer: The Impact of the migratory influx on the demographic development and the housing market in Germany

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