Rents continue to go up Cost of living is especially high for university students in Bonn

Bonn · Students looking for an apartment or a room in a shared apartment have to budget more and more money for it. The situation in university towns is becoming "increasingly desperate" - especially in Bonn.

University students attending a lecture.

University students attending a lecture.

Foto: dpa/Julian Stratenschulte

Newly rented shared rooms or apartments for students are becoming increasingly expensive, as shown in a recent study. According to the Student Housing Report 2023 from the financial services provider MLP and the Institute of the German Economy (IW), asking prices for rents have risen by 6.2 percent within a year. The results of the study were published on Thursday. For the report, the rental prices of apartments in 38 German university cities were analyzed in the second quarter of the year. They were all advertised on major real estate portals and in newspapers.

According to the survey, rents rose in all 38 cities for the second year in a row. The North Rhine-Westphalian leader was Bonn, with an increase of 5.2 percent, ahead of Düsseldorf (5.1) and Cologne (4.9). The national leader was Heidelberg with an increase of 8 percent, ahead of Oldenburg (+6.8) and Berlin (+6.4). The smallest price increases were in Chemnitz (+1), Jena (+1.6) and Regensburg (+2.2 percent).

For better comparability, the report calculated prices for a 30-square-meter model apartment near a university and for a 20-square-meter model room in a shared apartment. According to the report, new student tenants in NRW have to pay the most in Bonn: 598 euros for the small model apartment. In Duesseldorf it costs 517 and in Cologne 515 euros. It is cheapest in Bielefeld at 387 euros.

The situation is similar for shared rooms: In Bonn, it’s 457 euros for a 20-square-meter room, in Düsseldorf 382 and in Cologne 363. The cheapest places to live are Bielefeld and Bochum, at 294 euros.

Rental prices for students: Situation "more and more desperate”

"The situation on the housing market is becoming increasingly desperate for students," wrote real estate expert Michael Voigtländer of the Institute of the German Economy in a foreword to the housing report. Rents for student housing have been rising steadily for a decade, he said, but the dynamics have intensified once again. "In addition, rising energy prices are now also putting a strain on the monthly budget, as well as continuing high consumer prices, especially for food."

Rising competition in the rental market

The authors see several reasons for rising rents: Declining construction activity due to rising interest rates and rising construction costs, as well as an increase in the cost of homeownership, are increasing competition for rental housing. Add to that a resurgence of in-migration to college towns following the pandemic. "Because construction activity is declining significantly right now, the shortage of housing will worsen - making further steep rent increases inevitable," they predict.

The federal government's “Junges Wohnen” (“Young Housing”) program was a step in the right direction, the report said. The government coalition provided 500 million euros to the federal states in the current year for the construction of student and trainee dormitories under the low-income housing program. Construction Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD) recently announced that this program would be extended by two years, making a total of 1.5 billion euros available. In Germany, around 2.9 million students are enrolled at universities.

(Orig. text: dpa / Translation: ck)

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