Rents in Darmstadt are rising much faster than incomes

WWhile the coalition of CDU, Greens and Volt praises the newly created Qualified Rent Index as an important contribution to more transparency, the SPD in Darmstadt, but also Die Linke, see the result of the extensive household survey as evidence of a “failed housing policy”. The inventory survey presented by the Institute for Housing and the Environment shows that the average rent per square meter has risen by 17.4 percent within four years: While in 2018 a privately financed apartment in the portfolio was usually still asking for a price per square meter of 8.89 euros, According to the most recent survey, it is now “cold” on average 10.44 euros – more than in nearby Frankfurt.

The energy and heating costs, which are also rapidly increasing nationwide and which are an additional burden for many households, played no role in determining the net rents, it said. The rent index also does not take into account the prices for first-time occupancy of a new apartment. The list also does not contain any information on the costs for social housing, a furnished room or a place in a student hall of residence. The statistics only serve to compare privately financed existing apartments and can help to prevent disputes between tenants and landlords from arising in the first place, according to the position of the municipality, which wants to make the overview available to all citizens at the beginning of July: below and in the form of a brochure costing two euros.

“Social cohesion is in danger”

From the figures from more than 1,500 households, “a clear mandate to further create affordable housing is derived,” said Mayor Barbara Akdeniz (Die Grünen), after the magistrate had decided on the Qualified Rent Index Darmstadt 2022. As an attractive city in the Rhine-Main metropolitan area, one must continue to be prepared for the influx of families, students and singles who come to the science city, which has a good 160,000 inhabitants, for professional reasons, among other things.

In a first reaction to the new rent index, the Darmstadt SPD spoke of a “failed coalition housing policy”. “The measures are taking effect too slowly. We have to realize that social cohesion is in danger,” said the parliamentary group’s housing policy spokesman, Michael Siebel. There is a lack of a milieu protection statute for districts whose residents would otherwise have to fear displacement. In addition, the number of social housing should be doubled in order to “finally create relief for people with low incomes” on the housing market. From the point of view of the Social Democrats, Bauverein AG plays a central role here, which is why the municipality should better forego distributions from the municipal housing construction company for the foreseeable future. One is a long way from the desired goal of realizing 45 percent subsidized, i.e. comparatively cheap, apartments in all major projects. Instead, as in the Bürgerpark, “high-priced living space for a few” will be built.

The criticism of the left-wing city council group was even clearer. Darmstadt had already taken an “inglorious first place in Germany” in terms of the rental burden rate in 2018 – ahead of Frankfurt and Munich. Every fifth rental household in Darmstadt now has to spend more than half of their income on living. And the Bauverein is no longer a brakeman, but a driver of an unhealthy and antisocial price development.