Before the so-called housing construction summit in the Chancellery this Monday, Construction Minister Klara Geywitz announced new help for building or buying your own four walls.

In addition, the federal government wants to invest an additional billion euros in dormitories for students or trainees as an “economic stimulus,” as the SPD politician told the German Press Agency. The government will miss its target of 400,000 apartments by more than 100,000 units this year.

Due to sharply increased interest rates and high construction costs, the number of residential construction projects is falling. Many people can no longer afford to own their own home, and real estate developers fear that expensive rental apartments may not be profitable.

The meeting with associations, federal, state and local authorities with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is intended to discuss countermeasures. Industry representatives made many demands in advance, including government-subsidized interest rates, lower VAT and a move away from high building standards to save energy.

Easier and cheaper to build

At the weekend, Scholz promised better conditions for the construction of affordable housing. To achieve this, regulations should be simplified and standardized “so that we can achieve serial construction and construction becomes even cheaper,” he said at an SPD election campaign rally in Nuremberg.

Scholz emphasized that the meeting in the Chancellery should discuss “very specific things” about how more apartments can be built. Among other things, more building land is needed, which must be designated in the municipalities.

At the weekend, associations in the construction industry called for an aid package with tax relief, fewer rules and more funding – a “housing construction oomph”.

In the dpa interview, Minister Geywitz appeared open to some of the real estate industry’s demands. She said that building applications had fallen massively. “That’s why we will now provide economic stimulus.” She mentioned the already announced 18 billion euros from the federal government for social housing. “Together with the contributions from the states, around 45 billion euros are available until 2027.”

On the other hand, the 500 million euro program for young living will be extended by two years, an increase of one billion euros. “This means that a total of 1.5 billion euros will be available to finance student and trainee dormitories,” said Geywitz.

More support for families

Regarding the planned expansion of home ownership promotion for families, Geywitz said: “To do this, we will significantly increase the income limit from 60,000 euros. We will also increase the loan amount again.” In addition, it makes ecological sense “that we also support families in purchasing and renovating an existing house.”

Geywitz also supported calls not to further tighten energy-saving regulations as planned. “I am against using mandatory minimum efficiency standards for buildings to scare owners of unrenovated houses into having to invest tens of thousands of euros,” said Geywitz, also with a view to EU plans for a building efficiency directive.

“We should first set a good example with public buildings, with our children’s schools, with sports halls, with town halls, fire stations and care facilities,” said Geywitz. “We have already saved quite a bit of CO2. And if we later discover that there are still too many unrenovated single-family homes, we will certainly have an answer to that.”

Less stringent energy saving standards

With a view to new buildings, Geywitz clearly distanced himself from the EH40 energy saving standard that the traffic light agreed in the coalition agreement for 2025. “The current categories, the EH40 efficiency standard for example, focus too much on insulation and the required heating heat,” said Geywitz.

“We should develop a simple system that promotes energy-efficient construction, the use of environmentally friendly and recycled building materials and space-saving construction. That would be an alternative to EH40.”

Geywitz argued that the definition in the coalition agreement comes from a time with lower financing and construction costs. “We urgently need to reduce construction costs. The difference in construction costs between the now valid EH55 and EH40 standards can be several hundred euros per square meter.”

The Left is missing tenant protection on the agenda of the housing summit. “The federal government must now prevent further rent increases by stopping rents,” said housing expert Caren Lay. She asked the federal government about the places in Germany with the highest rent increases.

Result: The leader in the increase last year was Delmenhorst in Lower Saxony with an increase of 13.2 percent, followed by Worms in Rhineland-Palatinate with an increase of 12.2 percent and Weiden in the Upper Palatinate in Bavaria with an increase of 11.7 percent. “It is alarming that rents are now rising where they were previously affordable,” said Lay.

IG Bau for 50 billion economic stimulus package

Before the top meeting, the Construction-Agriculture-Environment industrial union also reiterated its demand for a 50 billion euro economic stimulus program for housing construction. “Especially recently, economic stimulus programs have been launched quite successfully. It’s about time again,” said chairman Robert Feiger to “Bild am Sonntag”.

High interest rates and sharply increased costs had stalled the construction engine in recent months. Affordable housing is difficult to find in many places.

“Housing construction is threatened with disaster,” said Feiger. “The traffic light’s goal of building 400,000 apartments per year is missed year after year. The construction figures are getting lower and lower – even as the number of residents increases.”

The Association of Cities and Municipalities (DStGB) also called for a clear signal from the meeting. “Accelerating the planning and approval process for housing construction, limiting construction costs and further strengthening investments in housing construction,” is how managing director Gerd Landsberg outlined the necessary measures in the “BamS”.

Tax relief is needed – both for new buildings and for existing renovations. “In addition, the federal government must increase funding for social housing promotion to at least five billion euros per year in the long term,” he told the paper.