Our figure of the month 07/2018: Housing situation of tenants and owners by household size


The coalition agreement of the current federal government provides for support for families in the acquisition of residential property in the form of so-called "building child benefit". Various criteria were discussed for the allocation of a grant, including the size of a house or flat. In order to receive a subsidy, an upper limit of 120 square metres for a family of four has been considered. Even if this idea was finally abandoned, it is interesting to look at the size of family housing in Germany – especially comparing families who are owners with tenants. Information is provided by an additional survey of the Microcensus for 2014, the results of which were published in Dec. 2016 (Federal Statistical Office 2016).


As expected, the average floor space grows with an increasing number of household members. For example, a household with five or more people occupies on average a floor space of around 130 m², while single persons occupy more than 70 m² on average. The figure shows that, regardless of the size of the household, there is a clear difference between the average floor space of property and rented premises. In general, the average floor space of a rented flat or house is smaller than a self-owned property. For instance, a household consisting of four persons occupies an average of 95 m² in rented properties; the average size of owned premises for a family of four is just under 140 m². There may be several reasons behind this difference. Most probably, it also depends on which size of accommodation is on offer, e.g. in urban regions more apartments with limited space potential may be available for rent and larger buildings are more often being built in rural regions.

It is also noticeable that the ownership rate, i.e. the share of households owning a home of all households of the respective household size, is particularly high for four-person households with a share of 64%. In total, the average ownership rate only amounts to 45%. Thus, almost two thirds of all four person households in Germany already live in their own home.

A floor space of 120 m² would therefore mean an increase in the living situation for an average four-person household living in rented premises. But a 120 m² flat or house is significantly below the average floor space of four-person households living in their own property.

Other figures can be found here.

Source: Federal Statistical Office 2016: Building and Housing – Microcensus – Additional monitoring 2014, Wiesbaden

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