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Housing Policy and its social Dimension

Housing Policy and its social Dimension

Panel Discussion on January 28, 2020

Students, politics and housing industry discuss the current housing policy

On January 28 80 students, employees and visitors from Hannover and beyond visited the Faculty of Economics and Management of the Leibniz University Hannover. Professor Stephan Thomsen, head of the Institute of Economic Policy, invited representatives from politics, housing industry and labour union to debate the current situation on the housing market with them.

Which reasons are there for the current imbalances of the housing market? Why do the rents increase and which social and economic effects could they lead to? These questions were discussed by Professor Thomsen together with the Lower Saxon Minister for the Environment, Energy, Construction and Climate Protection, Olaf Lies, the head of the German Trade Union Confederation in Lower Saxony, Dr. Mehrdad Payandeh, the head of the association of the housing and real estate sector, Dr. Susanne Schmitt and the director of the Studentenwerk (Student Services Organisation) Hannover, Eberhard Hoffmann.

All speakers made clear that social changes, like the tendency towards more single households or the work or studying caused movements towards big cities are the major reasons for the increasing rents. In addition to that there is the continuing low interest-rate policy and the resulting flight to real estate as an investment. Cost increases in the construction industry, long approval procedures for new building sites and increased demands on apartments with regard to fire protection and climate protection are also causing rental costs to rise further. The rising prices become, among other things, already a threat to the necessary mobility of workers and to recruitment in companies.

After short impulse presentations by the speakers, participants and guests discussed various approaches to solving this difficult situation, which affects students, low-income earners and older people in particular. Thus, changes in the legal framework conditions were discussed as well as various control options through financial incentives of the state government. Short-term solutions are not in sight; the housing market will remain tense for more than a decade

Speakers

Olaf Lies (Lower Saxon Minister for the Environment, Energy, Construction and Climate Protection)
Dr. Susanne Schmitt (Head of the Association of the Housing and Real Estate Sector)
Eberhard Hoffmann (Studentenwerk Hannover)
Dr. Mehrdad Payandeh (German Trade Union Confederation)
Prof. Dr. Stephan Thomsen (Institute for Economic Policy, LUH)