Facts about Germany 2015 2015 - Page 160

158 | 159 WAY OF LIFE TOPIC URBAN QUALITY OF LIFE Good jobs, a clean environment, low crime Only 43 percent of households live in their rates, lots of leisure-time and cultural at- own four walls. The majority opt for rented tractions, good transport links: German accommodation, which has traditionally cities frequently boast precisely these fea- always been preferred. Almost 20 percent of tures. In a 2015 study aimed at evaluating people views the cost of living as a “heavy the quality of life in 230 large cities conduct- financial burden”. On average, such costs ed by the Mercer consulting firm, seven Ger- absorb 35 percent of monthly incomes. For man cities place in the Top 30. With Munich this reason the Federal Government has (4th place), Düsseldorf (6) and Frankfurt am paved the way for rent caps aimed at pre- Main (7), three actually make the Top Ten. serving social diversity in regions where Berlin (14), Hamburg (16) and Stuttgart (21) the housing market is under pressure. In are also well up the list. In Germany there the event of a change in tenant, new rents are 76 large cities (more than 100,000 inhab- are capped at a max. 10 percent higher than itants) and 600 medium-sized cities with for a comparable flat – but there are ex- between 20,000 and 99,999 inhabitants; 74 ceptions. In Berlin 22 areas were given percent of people now live in cities. “environment protection”. All redevelopment measures, meaning all demolition work, as The demand for urban living space has led well as all alterations and changes in use are to a sharp rise in rents in the case of first- checked and require approval, in order to pre- time lets, and in the price of real estate. vent refurbishment becoming synonymous With regard to European home ownership with gentrification. This way, so the hope, rates, Germany comes second from last. urban diversity will be preserved. How Germans live More than half of the people in Germany live in rented accommodation, not in their own four walls. 64.5 percent of all residential buildings are single-family dwellings, only 5.9 percent are larger structures with seven or more flats. 35 percent of flats and houses are 100 square metres in size or bigger, only 5.5 percent of flats are smaller than 40 square metres. Consumer spending by private households in Germany 22 % 35 % Other items Accommodation, energy, accommodation maintenance 4% Clothing, shoes 14 % 11 % 14 % Leisure time, entertainment, culture Food, drink, tobacco Transportation Source: Federal Statistical Office 2014 DIAGRAM