The number of building permits in Germany fell in the first half of 2022. As reported by the Federal Statistical Office, the authorities approved 155,347 apartments in new buildings or new apartments in existing buildings in the first few months of the current year. That was 1.6 percent less than in the same period last year.
Compared to May 2021, the number even fell by 2.1 percent. If you factor out distorting seasonal and calendar effects, the number of permits from April to May even fell by 6.6 percent to around 29,800.
Significant minus for single-family houses
A total of 135,133 apartments were approved for new residential buildings from January to May, 1.5 percent fewer than in the same period last year. There was a significant drop of 17.8 percent to 34,809 for single-family homes. In the case of two-family houses, on the other hand, the number of approved apartments increased by 2.1 percent to 14,076. An increase of 9.1 percent to 83,308 approved apartments was recorded for apartment buildings.
In view of the housing shortage in many cities, the number of building permits is an important indicator of the future situation on the housing market. However, approved apartments are often not built at first because the capacities of craftsmen and construction companies are not sufficient due to the high demand. There are also shortages of materials and delivery bottlenecks. This makes the construction of new apartments significantly more expensive.
"400,000 apartments per year waste"
The number approved by May corresponds to a good 31,000 apartments per month. Projected over the year, that would be almost 373,000 new units. The federal government has actually set the goal of building 400,000 new homes per year. This is intended to ease the tense situation on the real estate market in many cities.
A few days ago, the head of the Federal Association of the German Housing and Real Estate Industry (GdW), Axel Gedaschko, said that 400,000 new apartments per year were waste and that the achievement of the ambitious climate goals was becoming ever more distant. Responsible for this are drastically increased construction costs, supply chain problems and higher interest rates, but also ever stricter legal requirements.
According to a survey of the companies organized in the GdW associations, 70.7 percent of them wanted to give up or postpone new construction projects. In particular, the state must get more involved in social housing: "Five billion euros a year, financed by the federal and state governments, are required," says Gedaschko.