250,000 new apartments in Germany, this is the assessment for 2015. Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks considers this number to be insufficient. According to the Minister, it is necessary to amend the constitution to cope with the housing shortage in Germany.
Federal vs. provincial competence
Housing is a provincial matter in Germany. This is what the Minister wants to change over the long term: “The demand is so huge that provinces will not be able to meet it on their own. We urgently need more affordable apartments in metropolitan areas,” says Minister Hendricks. “All involved have to take action: federal, provincial, and municipal authorities as well as the construction industry and private investors.” Hendricks demands an amendment to the constitution to relieve provinces: in the future, housing shall be a federal matter.
Housing subsidies on the brink due to current regulations
The reason for this foray: According to current regulations, the federal government may only subsidise provinces until 2019 when it comes to housing. All of this is over by 2020. The missing funds would blow a significant hole in the budget: subsidies for this year amount to 518 million euros and will increase to 1.5 billion euros in 2018.
Reworking the constitution
Federal Minister Hendricks has recognised the oncoming storm: If the federal subsidies break off, the provinces will have a problem with financing, and provincially subsidised – especially social – housing will be in danger. Today, the demand in metropolitan areas already exceeds supply. This is the reason for the constitutional amendment. Federal authorities shall be able to subsidise provincial housing in the future as well.