Refugee influx exacerbates Germany’s housing shortage

Germany received about 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015 and another 280,000 refugees in 2016. In September 2017, Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to limit the number of refugees accepted by Germany to 200,000 annually.

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In addition to Germany’s limited supply of residential real estate, one problem is that refugees are housed in large cities like Berlin, where the supply of housing is even more limited. They compete for German residential real estate with locals and migrants (mostly from other parts of Europe) who come to the country to work, putting further pressure on the cost and profitability of apartments.

According to Eurostat, there were 102,500 registered asylum seekers in Germany in 2020, about 24.6% of all first-time applicants to the European Union. This is 28% less than a year earlier. For five years in a row, the number of asylum applications has been falling.

On Dec. 31, 2020, the German government lifted the ban on deporting Syrian nationals, allowing the country to deport those deemed a security threat. The ban had been in place for eight years and was repeatedly extended because of the ongoing Syrian civil war.

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