Though Germany is well-known for its tuition-free tertiary education, its largest cities are also known for charging notoriously expensive rent – a room in a private apartment or house can cost around €350.

Even worse, the country’s students are facing a severe accommodation shortage, as their numbers are rising at rates much faster than student housing is being built.

Due to a limited supply of available apartments and competition from other students, the rent in several German cities has shot up, leaving many to settle for less-than-ideal housing situations (e.g. far away from campus, or located in dodgy neighborhoods).

At 19 of Germany’s university towns in particular, the student housing situation has reached critical levels, according to a recent study.

In compiling the report for real estate firm GBI and real estate portal, the Moses Mendelssohn Institute looked at German cities with student populations over 5,000 and rated them out of 100.

The institute looked at various factors affecting the student accommodation market, including rent increases, quantity of available space, student numbers, and competition for rooms with other students – the higher the score, the poorer the housing situation.

Dr. Stefan Brauckmann, the institute’s director, said in the report: “Since 2013, the strain on student housing has risen continually – in the big cities and the internationally-recognized university towns the trend has been way above average.”

It probably comes as no surprise, but the largest city in the state of Bavaria, Munich, was rated the worst for students to find housing, with a score of 79 out of 100. It was closely followed by Frankfurt and Cologne.

“While Munich already has a reputation for being a difficult city for students to find a place to live, students in these cities [Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg, and Stuttgart] are now having a similar experience,” added Brauckmann.

According to the survey, these are the top 10 most difficult cities to find student housing in Germany:

  1. Munich (79/100)

  2. Frankfurt (77.5/100)

  3. Cologne (76/100)

  4. Hamburg (74/100)

  5. Stuttgart (73/100)

  6. Freiburg (66.5/100)

  7. Darmstadt (66.5/100)

  8. Berlin (64/100)

  9. Tübingen (62.5/100)

  10. Konstanz (60/100)

However, the study also noted that students had an easier time finding accommodation this year compared to the previous year in seven of the 91 cities surveyed. These cities were: Bielefeld, Hanover, Kaiserslautern, Kassel Münster, Osnabrück, and Würzburg.

And it’s not all bad: the QS Best Student Cities 2016 list included a German city in the top 10 – its cool capital, Berlin, which placed at #9.

The index looks at a mix of factors, such as how many top-ranking universities are located in the city, how international the student population is, quality of life, whether graduate employers actively recruited within the city, and of course, how affordable it is to live there.

Image via Unsplash

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