Housing Crunch in Berlin




owner look for sweep up (2)
budget demand staggering
rent benefit construct
tenant remove globalization
link entitled multinational corporation
tower property affordable
set up focus (2) frustrating
appeal initiative studio (2)
scene preserve alternative
luxury soar (2) real estate
invest soar (2) interest rate
join high-end social housing
guide catch-up relatively
abroad startup go around (2)
double play (3) mortgage
search consider speculation
charm curb (2) secretary (2)
mix original saying (2)
worth push (2) no longer






Theresa Ketch has been looking for a new home for two months. She lives in a small apartment in the popular Kreuzberg neighborhood.

But the owner wants her out. He says he wants to use the apartment himself as he’s legally entitled to do. That means Ketch has to find a new apartment within her artist’s budget.

But demand for apartments is staggering. And so are the prices.

Theresa Ketch, Berlin Resident: “The apartments I could consider renting here in Kreuzberg are gone within the hour. Before you can set up a viewing, they say, ‘sorry the apartment has been removed from the ads.’ Or ‘We’ve already found a tenant’.”

Ketch links her troubles to globalization, that multinational companies are sweeping up property in Berlin, and sending prices soaring.

She’s not alone.

Berlin Resident One: “I’m considering moving abroad because I find it really frustrating to have to leave my home town because rents are no longer affordable for original tenants, for those who have lived here over thirty years.”

Berlin Resident Two: “I feel like all of our friends who have kids can’t find apartments and live in studios with two children.”

Berlin’s famous for its alternative arts and culture scene: “Poor but Sexy” went the saying.

This is part of the New Berlin: luxury apartments — not for rent, but to buy.

Real estate company Zabel guides investors from around the world to properties in Germany, like the Fritz Tower, micro apartments for Berlin’s digital and startup industries. Investors from thirteen countries have already bought in, mostly from Asia.

The company says they have to focus on high-end flats rather than social housing because the price of land is soaring. But they say Berlin is still a relatively cheap place to live.

Serkan Gocmen, Zabel Property: “This city is still affordable for everyone. And if you look at the mortgages, you have very low interest rates, and you can benefit from them for many years.

And so I believe this will continue, yes.”

It’s not just investors — around forty-thousand (40,000) people are arriving in this city of 3.5 million every year.

There simply aren’t enough apartments to go around.

Rents have more than doubled in much of Berlin over the last few years. The city is now playing catch-up: it’s pushing state-owned companies to construct thousands of affordable apartments, while curbing speculation.

Sebastian Scheel says Berlin shouldn’t become another London or Paris.

Sebastian Scheel, Berlin State Housing Secretary: “The charm and appeal of the city has a lot to do with the mix of people; the fact that we don’t have any areas where the super-rich live, but a healthy mix in all neighborhoods.

That’s worth preserving.”

But Theresa Ketch says that mix is dying — and fast.

Globalization has caught up to Berlin too; she’s joined a local initiative to protect tenants.

Meanwhile, she’s still searching for a new home.


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Berlin, Munich, Hamburg. Theresa Ketch has a dilemma. True or false? What is her dilemma?

Paris. Is it easy or difficult to find an affordable apartment in Berlin? Is there a lot of competition for accommodation?

London, Manchester. Housing is a problem for just a few people. Is this right or wrong?

Rome, Milan, Venice. Why is housing so tight and expensive?

Zurich, Bern, Geneva. Do real estate agencies, property developers and investors feel the same way as ordinary Berlin residents (renters)?

Madrid, Barcelona. How does Berlin compare to London and Paris?

Warsaw, Krakow. Berlin has traditionally been segregated and divided into poor, working-class, middle-class, upper-middle-class and rich districts. Is this correct or incorrect? What might happen in the future?


Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hague. Describe the housing in your city. What is the housing situation like? Is it mostly apartments, houses, or both? Are most people home owners, renters or both?

Prague. Are rents and house prices increasing, decreasing or remaining the same?

Budapest. Are residents moving in, moving out or both?

Stockholm. Is there a lot, some, few or no real estate development or construction?

Lisbon, Porto. What might happen in the future?

Athens. Are there economic and political forces at play?

Brussels, Bruges. Should people or governments do anything?

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