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Need for ‘urgent political action’ to solve PBSA crisis

The lull in German housing construction has hit students particularly hard according to student accommodation developer and operator International Campus Group.

The lingering uncertainty concerning the future of government funding via the KfW development bank is not helpful either as far as the provision of adequate housing for all segments of society goes. “Urgent action at all political levels is called for,” the company pointed out in a statement.

“There is not nearly enough residential accommodation, and the volume of student housing that is being developed lags far behind demand – creating serious issues for young people. Unless supply is expanded, housing and rental costs will just keep going up,” Stump said.

The number of first-year students enrolling for the winter term is at least as high as last year. “We expect nearly 500,000 first-year students in Germany for the winter semester 2022/2023. So, the number of first-year students should match last year’s level at the least,” said the company’s COO Michael Stump.

“On the one hand, we are seeing—including in our own houses—the return of intercontinental students to German universities and other higher education institutions. On the other hand, we expect to see the final catch-up effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the rapid increase in the cost of living, young people want to get their degrees, and they need their own place to stay at their study location.”

Michael Stump.

The return of face-to-face teaching and the revocation of covid travel restrictions has restored the ability to study abroad which means that both international and domestic students will have arrived in large numbers. And, as Stump points out, students participating in Europe’s Erasmus exchange program are entitled to higher funding rates when studying in another EU country. Depending on the destination country, they are paid €600 or more each month. This adds to demand pressure.

 “We hope that the ‘young living’ action plan of the German federal and state level will move forward quickly, so that it can start simplifying and expediting the creation of additional accommodation for students and other young people by early 2023,” Stump said.

He said that streamlined planning and permit procedures, and faster processing of planning and zoning applications as well as sound and reliable KfW funding programs would help address housing shortages and rising housing costs for students.