By global standards, Germany is a safe, clean, environmentally conscious country with very good medical care and a very attractive standard of living. However, when relocating to Germany you may be aware of discouraging reports about the severe challenges of the housing market in major locations like Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg.
In spite of the atrocities of the market, for clients of a destination services provider there is no need to despair. Start-Up Services, for example, is successful in an average of 5 to 10 workdays of concentrated search and viewings. Having said this, however, it is all the more important that the relocation process is properly prepared.
- the needs assessment (size/number of bedrooms, budget and location),
- matched to the facts of the market,
- a clear and realistic search profile,
- based on the alignment of the expectations of all parties (transferee & family, HR & company relocation policy, global provider process)
are necessary ingredients for success.
The Housing Market, in most locations, is
- Clearly a landlords’ market
- extremely fast and highly competitive (for example in Munich 400++ or more interested parties for one property)
- very expensive (Munich at the top of the list, for example, 20 to 28 Euro/m² per month rent without operating expenses or utilities, or for normal incomes up to 40+% of net income required for rental budget)
A few other points to note:
- company confirmation of employment/income is required for application for a property
- knowledge of net income for own assessment of rental budget is necessary (sample pay slip)
- generally, no US style corporate housing available as temporary accommodations (instead, boarding houses or hotel apartments 20 to 35m²)
- furnished flats offered by private parties are subject to a minimum 6-month rental period in most cities (if shorter, illegal use of rental property!)
- temporary accommodation owners must be prepared to provide the “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung”, which is the basis for registration with local authorities, issuing of tax ID, opening of bank account, pre-paid mobile phone card, registration of car, etc.
- little to no availability of furnished flats in smaller cities or rural areas
Again, the good news is that, with the care and guidance of Start-Up Services, house hunting is successful in an average of 5 to 10 workdays of concentrated search and viewings.
Last, but not least: the search and viewings in most locations should ideally start about 4 to 6 weeks ahead of the moving-in date. Starting too soon would result in a rental agreement beginning a month or more ahead of schedule.