Analysis of the 400 cities and districts: Large Rent Atlas: where you can afford an apartment with little money

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Anyone who only earns the minimum wage cannot live on it everywhere in Germany. Especially metropolitan areas are too expensive. We have analyzed all 400 cities and districts and show where 12.41 euros are enough for an average apartment.

Whoever works full-time with a minimum wage in Germany receives 2,151 euros gross per month. An average single person in tax category I, who pays church tax and has no children, can keep around 1,550 euros net. Three years ago, the left faction of the Bundestag asked the federal government in a small investigation how much a minimum wage worker had available for rent and additional expenses. At that time it was 534 euros, although the minimum wage was even lower, 9.50 euros. Extrapolated to the current hourly wage of 12.41 euros, the rental budget would increase to 698 euros.

This means that a minimum wage worker could afford a small apartment in 386 of 400 German cities and districts. “Small” is defined based on net salary. According to IW Cologne, an average full-time German employee earns a net salary of 2,550 euros and, according to the Federal Statistical Office, lives in an area of ​​68 square meters. Converted to the minimum net salary of 1,550 euros per month, the size of the apartment would be 42 square meters.

In most German regions you can find an apartment of this size for 698 euros. According to the Postbank Housing Atlas, rents increased on average by almost 5 percent last year, but the minimum wage also increased by 3.4 percent. Furthermore, the additional costs per square meter decreased slightly on average, from 3.46 to 3.45 euros. However, this last number usually depends largely on the region in which you live.

East German districts are the cheapest

You can still find the cheapest rentals in the eastern German countryside. The Vogtland district in Saxony tops the list with only 5.35 euros per square meter for basic rent. Together with the typical additional costs, for 42 square meters you will only pay around 368 euros per month. In the district of Greiz in Thuringia it is 375 euros, in the district of Görlitz in Saxony it is 376 euros and in the Erzgebirgskreis of the same state it is 378 euros.

Many big cities are also affordable. Chemnitz in Saxony is the cheapest with a rent of 385 euros plus additional costs per month. They are followed at some distance with basic rents below 7 euros per square meter Gelsenkirchen (424 euros), Hagen (430 euros, both in North Rhine-Westphalia), Magdeburg in Saxony-Anhalt with 431 euros and Salzgitter in Lower Saxony with 432 .euros. Of the largest cities in Germany, Düsseldorf with 672 euros, Bremen with 572 euros, Nuremberg with 616 euros and Leipzig with 511 euros are within the budget of a minimum wage worker.

These 14 regions are too expensive

However, only 14 regions of the country are too expensive. As always, Munich is at the forefront. In the Bavarian capital you pay an average of 1,013 euros for 42 square meters. No other city or region in Germany comes close. The Munich district surrounding the metropolis comes in second place with 864 euros, ahead of the nearby Starnberg district with 793 euros. Only then will it be the turn of other areas of the country.

Frankfurt am Main has a total cost of 782 euros, Stuttgart 765 euros, Freiburg im Breisgau 761 euros. After an average rent increase of 18 percent, the German capital Berlin is also well above the budget of a minimum wage worker of 744 euros. The other regions that are too expensive are Cologne (719 euros), Heidelberg (741 euros), the districts of Dachau (754 euros) bordering Munich, Ebersberg (742 euros), Freising (704 euros) and Fürstenfeldbruck (777 euros). such as the district of Miesbach, in southern Bavaria (740 euros).

Housing costs do not exceed 30 percent of take-home pay.

Compared to the previous year, the situation for minimum wage workers has worsened slightly. Back then, 392 of the 400 regions were still affordable, today only 386 remain. Cologne, Heidelberg, the districts of Freising, Ebersberg and Miesbach, as well as Berlin, are now over budget.

This is very generous anyway. Anyone who spends 698 euros of their net salary of 1,550 euros on rent pays 45 percent of their money. Financial experts recommend limiting housing costs to 30 percent of take-home pay. With this restriction – a minimum wage worker would only have 465 euros per month available for rent – an apartment of 42 square meters could only be found in 109 of the 400 regions. These only include twelve major cities.

This shows that people with low incomes are forced to spend more money on rent than experts would normally recommend, unless they want to live in less than 42 square meters.

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