Friday, June 24, 2016

On the Topic of Affordable Housing

Last night (Thursday), I watched German state-run ARD's Panorama show.  It's a news documentary piece....maybe five items....each between six and eight minutes each....designed to give some 'slant' upon ongoing events.  One of last night's pieces....surrounded affordable housing.

So the state-run TV crew went out to various big-name cities in Germany, and asked the question.....is there anything that the city government (the mayor and council) are really doing to help this....or is the emphasis settled upon high development projects?  Their answer? High revenue pay-back real estate is being pushed by most cities in Germany.  It's rare to find any company which sees a market for affordable housing at present.  

Yesterday, I spent a fair amount of the day in Frankfurt....walking around.  In particular, I went to the old part of the city where the US Army BX was located (north part of the city.....along the Miquel Strasse area).  The whole city block that the US Army occupied....up until the early 1990s....has been wiped out, and all new buildings put into place.

What you notice.....after a bit of walking around....are mostly all new apartment or condo developments.....which go hand-in-hand with the news report.  These are all upscale places either standing presently, or in the process of being built.  They aren't what you'd call affordable....they are high-end projects.

If you look at the neighborhood....it's in a area which has easy access to the subway system and quick access to the autobahn system leading out of the city.

Most developers look at the cost of real estate.....square meter to Euro rate....and shake their heads when someone says affordable housing.....because real estate prices in the urban zone of Frankfurt (like the other cities).....have gone to the point where affordable housing is a humorous topic to discuss.  It makes no sense to build cheaper housing in these types of neighborhoods.

So, what is occurring....is that more subway and rapid-rail links are having to be developed.....allowing people to move ten to twenty kilometers out of town.....to neighborhoods that area still affordable there.  Eventually, maybe twenty years down the line.....even those affordable neighborhoods....will become unaffordable, and people will have to study the idea of living forty to sixty kilometers out of town.....to make their budgets work.

If you were looking for a German topic which has no real solution and just continually gets chatted about....to no real conclusion.....this is topic number one.

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