If there were a ranking of the federal ministers who had the most bad luck with the time of their appointment in the history of the Federal Republic, Klara Geywitz would be represented in the top group. The Minister of Construction had only been in office for a few weeks when Russia's invasion of Ukraine exacerbated the already tense situation on the housing market to such an extent that one can now speak of an almost perfect storm.

Matthias Alexander

Deputy head of department in the feuilleton.

  • Follow I follow

Due to the breathtakingly fast rise in interest rates and the dramatic inflation, especially for building materials, new buildings for private individuals as well as for housing companies can hardly be presented, and many renovation projects are no longer profitable. Projects are now being cancelled in droves, and there is already talk of a de facto standstill. And this in a situation where 400,000 new homes are needed every year – some experts even speak of 700,000 – to accommodate the population, which has grown by four to 2011 million people since 84. Especially in large cities and university towns, people are queuing up for apartment viewings. For those who have to look for a new place to live, rents are rising rapidly.

Presenter Louis Klamroth has Erdal Balci from Bremen as a guest in "Hart aber fair", who, like many other family fathers, has given up the dream of owning his own home after years of futile search and many humiliating experiences. Now he is quite happy to be a tenant. A colleague, he reports, wants to sell his property that has just been paid off; he could not afford the upcoming renovation, including the replacement of the heating system.

Almost exclusively luxury and social housing

According to Dirk Salewski, shareholder of a property development company from Bergkamen and president of the Federal Association of Independent Real Estate and Housing Companies, Balci is a typical case. He reports that at present almost only luxury apartments and social housing are being built; The rich bring more equity with them, and there are subsidies from the state for social housing. Only the middle class is no longer getting a chance.

The question arises as to how the misery could be remedied. Klamroth confronts Geywitz, not without reminding her that Olaf Scholz campaigned for himself in the Bundestag election campaign with the slogan "Chancellor for affordable housing". The minister, who presents her arguments calmly and in a clearly structured manner, does not beat around the bush about the fact that the government is facing a major challenge. She bravely explains where she starts with the limited influence and budget of her ministry: There is "an extremely large amount of money" for social housing. With the housing benefit reform, further billions would be made available. In addition, her company is exerting pressure to finally dismantle the cost-driving DIN standards so that construction can be carried out more cheaply.

Geywitz also wants to push ahead with the introduction of the so-called building type E (for e as in experimental or simple), which is intended to provide more mobility in planning. Geywitz also does not want to abandon her mantra-like hope for the price-dampening effect of modular and serial construction, although practical experience does not promise too great savings.