From Conservative Home
Until recently, German house prices were remarkably flat. In fact, it wasn’t until the collapse of property bubbles elsewhere in Europe that investors began to look to the German market. There are various explanations as to why the Germans should be so out of step on this matter. These range from a comparatively low rate of home ownership to the accommodating nature of local planning policies.
There’s another possible cause – in Britain there aren’t enough houses for people to live in, but in many parts of Germany there aren’t enough people to live in the houses. Reporting for the New York Times
, Suzanne Daley and Nicholas Kulish describe the impact of depopulation in the town of Sonneberg:
- “At first glance, this town in central Germany, with rows of large houses built when it was a thriving center of toy manufacturing, looks tidy and prosperous. But Heiko Voigt, the deputy mayor here, can point out dozens of vacant homes that he doubts will ever be sold.
- “The reality is that the German population is shrinking and towns like this one are working hard to hide the emptiness. Mr. Voigt has already supervised the demolition of 60 houses and 12 apartment blocs, strategically injecting grassy patches into once-dense complexes.”
This isn’t an isolated example. The cause is a national decline in fertility rates, a problem which Germany shares with several other European countries:
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