– More apartments at affordable prices, began the Minister of Construction Geywitz. Now he’s bringing new players to the table – and they’re directly questioning his goal of him.
Construction Minister Klara Geywitz is sticking to her goal of creating 400,000 new homes every year, despite problems in the construction sector.
Achieving this goal has become even more ambitious due to supply bottlenecks and skyrocketing prices for building materials and energy, the SPD politician in Berlin said Wednesday. At the same time, however, apartments were needed much more urgently. The construction sector, on the other hand, now regards the goal as “illusory”, as was made clear at the beginning of an alliance for affordable housing.
In the alliance, Geywitz brings together the real estate sector, municipal umbrella organizations and stakeholders from the disabled officer to nature conservation organizations around a table. They should all work together to ensure that cheaper and more climate-friendly apartments are built in Germany. This is already an important social task, Geywitz said. In view of the war in Ukraine and the many refugees, it is even more important. “This means that the framework conditions have become more difficult,” he admitted. “But obviously we don’t have to deny the goal in view of the necessity.”
Huge need for action
However, the industry sees a huge need for political action. “The urgently needed housing construction and climate-friendly renovation are on the verge of a setback in Germany,” warned the president of the Central Housing Association, Axel Gedaschko. “Massive supply chain problems after the crown crisis have persisted, there is chaos in subsidies for affordable and climate-friendly housing construction, and the war against Ukraine is leading to further massive price hikes. of construction and bottlenecks in the offer “. This exacerbates the shortage of skilled and material labor, while interest rates and energy costs for tenants and owners rise at the same time.
The director general of the construction industry association, Tim-Oliver Müller, like Gedaschko, sees the federal government’s housing construction goal in jeopardy. In the meantime, it can also be assumed that there may be a decline in new residential construction and ultimately also in the construction sector as a whole. The Central Real Estate Committee (ZIA) has called for bold political initiatives: “We need a regulatory freeze and the suspension of long approval procedures,” he said.
Geywitz stressed that now everyone must be together. “We also need the support of the construction industry, which needs to expand its capabilities significantly, but is under pressure from rising construction costs and material shortages,” he told the German news agency.
Alliance members should all be dedicated to the goal of building communal housing, but also develop public subsidy projects. What conditions for climate protection must new construction and redevelopments meet in order to receive government funding? And how do you make sure that all approved apartments are actually built in a timely manner? According to Geywitz, nearly 800,000 apartments have been approved but not yet built. Sometimes obstacles in planning made it difficult to condense into the stock, the minister said. For example, the question of whether we still have to provide as many parking spaces in the city as before. “I think no one.”
According to their ideas, new apartments should be created mainly in metropolitan areas, but less through new building areas. Instead, vacant lots need to be filled, homes expanded, and commercial buildings converted to apartments. Overall, German cities will become denser.
Union real estate expert Jan-Marco Luczak criticized the alliance’s lack of solution proposals. “However, formulating widely accepted goals is not yet political,” he stressed. “The Minister of Construction threatens to get bogged down in ideology and theoretical debates from the very first meters. This means that we waste precious time until something really arrives at the construction site.” Caren Lay of the leftist faction complained that expensive luxury and condominiums did not solve the problem of affordable housing. Instead, she suggested that only social housing should be built in urban centers with a tight housing market.
DGB board member Stefan Körzell also sees a focus on affordable, publicly funded housing. In particular, families with medium and low incomes need such apartments. The federal government must also protect tenants from moving and rising rents. He suggested a six-year rent freeze. Federal Commissioner for the Disabled, Jürgen Dusel, reported a particular shortage of barrier-free apartments. In this case, a clear commitment is needed from all actors, not just politicians. “Planning for accessibility from the start is a matter of quality, professionalism and sustainability,” he stressed. “Only housing without barriers deserves the name of social housing”.