H Housing

German Housing Sector Grapples with Unprecedented Crisis

18 October, 2023
German housing sector

German housing sector finds itself in the throes of an unprecedented crisis as construction projects face record cancellations, sending shockwaves through the industry. A recent survey by the Munich-based Ifo Institute revealed that in September, a staggering 21.4% of residential builders reported the cancellation of their projects, marking the highest level since records began in 1991—surpassing the previous month’s already alarming figure of 20.7%.

Source: IFO

Business Climate for Residential Construction Hit Lowest Since Data Are Recorded

As conditions continue to deteriorate, the business climate for residential construction has plummeted to its lowest point since the inception of the survey over three decades ago. According to Ifo, nearly half of the companies surveyed lamented a dearth of orders, signaling a pervasive sense of uncertainty within the industry.

Source: IFO

The root of this crisis can be traced to a confluence of factors. The European Central Bank’s successive interest rate hikes have resulted in soaring financing costs, putting immense pressure on companies within the housing construction sector. Additionally, construction prices have witnessed substantial spikes, partly attributed to material shortages and surging energy prices. These compounding challenges have left companies grappling with an unprecedented number of project cancellations, exacerbating an already precarious situation.

German House Prices Fell By Double Digits

Furthermore, the impact of this crisis on the wider housing market cannot be understated. The first half of 2023 has seen a sharp decline in German house prices, with higher borrowing costs, inflation, and tepid economic growth serving as primary catalysts for the drop. Experts are now characterizing the current landscape as a shift from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market, with potential investors growing increasingly hesitant and apprehensive.

According to data from Europace, existing German home prices registered an 11.2% year-on-year decline in September, a slight improvement from August’s 12.4% drop. Simultaneously, prices for newly constructed homes also experienced a 9.8% year-on-year decrease, a marginal improvement from the 10.0% drop observed in August.

German housing sector

In light of these challenges, the German housing sector faces an uphill battle in the months ahead. Navigating the headwinds of cancellations, escalating costs, and economic uncertainties will require concerted efforts and innovative solutions from both industry stakeholders and policymakers alike. The stakes are high, and the future of Germany’s housing market hangs in the balance.