Almondia – Bautipps Die Bauherrenberatung

Company housing part I

The principle of company apartments can look back on a long history of success: by providing their employees with an apartment, companies make themselves attractive as an employer – including for qualified specialists.

The number of workers’ apartments fell sharply after reunification. In times of an acute shortage of skilled workers and the dramatic situation on the German housing market, however, company housing is once again the focus of attention. Because it promises a remedy for both problems.

the essentials in brief

  • In the age of industrialization, companies with the principle of company housing not only offered affordable living space, but also a community.
  • Company housing starts in two places: They help against the acute housing shortage and make an employer attractive to skilled workers.
  • A company is free to decide how much effort and risk it wants to bear when building a house.
  • The construction of company housing is never a loss-making business – after a while the rents even bring in profits.

The history of the company apartments

The idea of company housing first came up in the age of industrialization. [ads-pullquote-right]”In the age of industrialization, companies with the principle of company housing not only offered affordable living space, but a community.”[/ads-pullquote-right] Because the companies were constantly expanding, the need for workers also increased rapidly. In order to attract enough workers to the already full cities, they were provided with apartments: the company apartments. In the 19th century, for example, the steel company Krupp began to create more and more living space for its employees. As the company grew, so did the number of company accommodations. Entire settlements were created that were optimally tailored to the simple needs of the employees. At that time, the concept of company housing brought with it numerous advantages: The companies were not only able to lure workers into the cities – to where they were needed. But they also managed to bind the employees firmly to the company. [ads-pullquote-left]“In everyday business life, the search for qualified specialists is more important than ever. Points such as the attractive and uncomplicated accommodation for the workforce also play a role here.”[/ads-pullquote-left]On the one hand, losing your job would have meant losing your home, and on the other hand, the workers showed more solidarity with their company. Because it was not only responsible for her salary, but also for her well-being. In addition to housing for their employees, large companies such as Krupp and Siemens also built sports centers and schools and created shopping and entertainment facilities. This created a sense of community: the colleague became the neighbor with whom one drank a beer in the evening in the local pub around the corner.

Due to the global economic crisis, interest in company housing waned sharply. The giant companies had also suffered immense damage and withdrew more and more from the housing market in order to concentrate more on their core business.

Only during the reconstruction did the number of company apartments reach their peak. In 1970 there were an estimated 450,000 apartments for employees in West Germany.

With reunification, however, the housing market eased. The need for cheap housing was no longer as acute and the concept of company housing lost its attractiveness – for both employees and employers.

staff housing today

The relaxed housing market today, in the face of exorbitant rents that keep rising, seems like a dream. It is undeniable: Germany’s housing market is in crisis. A study by the Pestel Institute recently announced that 400,000 new homes are needed in Germany every year. Especially in metropolitan areas such as Hamburg, Berlin or Munich, it is almost impossible to find an apartment in a nice area at a reasonable price.

A second, equally acute problem is the shortage of skilled workers. The demand for qualified employees is increasing faster than the supply. Anyone who has completed a degree or completed training in a technical field can choose their job. That is why the large companies have to recruit qualified specialists. There is competition for the best employees, and few things attract potential employees quite like the promise of a cheap apartment in a good location. That is why today’s principle of employee housing starts with two acute problems: by creating company housing, they ensure a relaxation of the housing market. At the same time, they make themselves attractive to qualified employees looking for a job and thus create a competitive advantage.

The basic concept – you determine the risk and effort

Basically, the process for the company apartment is divided into three very simple steps: First you need a suitable area . Then the housing will be built. And finally, the apartment must be managed.

Within these three steps, the company has a great deal of leeway in how the company housing project is to be implemented. Both risk and effort are variable.

The company can, for example, hand over the construction to an external company and thus save the expense of building a house. The same applies to the management of the apartments. This results in the advantage that the company can continue to concentrate on its core business and at the same time benefit from company apartments in the competition for employees.

On the other hand, the company can also independently organize and carry out construction and administration. Although this means significantly more effort for the company, it can pay off both in terms of opportunities and profits.

If a company does not have a plot of land suitable for housing construction, it can secure the advantage of company housing: both the purchase of individual apartments and the purchase of a residential building are possible.

Every company can therefore decide for itself to what extent it wants to be involved and, in this respect, also wants to bear the effort and risk.

The black zero

The construction of a house is a very complex and expensive project that must be preceded by financial calculations. [ads-pullquote-right]”With the help of the rental income, the company can pay off interest and repayments without making a loss.”[/ads-pullquote-right] There is one basic idea when calculating a company apartment: the aim is to break even. With the help of the rental income, the company can pay off interest and principal without making a loss. At the same time, however, the following also applies: the concept of the company apartment is not initially designed for profit. At least not for direct financial gain through rental income.

The model calculation of the “Wirtschaft macht Wohnen” study shows that the construction of company housing can also be financially attractive for a company. The study assumes the construction of a property with 12 residential units and calculates costs of 1.72-2.23 million euros for the entire living space of 880m2 – depending on whether the company owns a suitable plot of land or has to acquire it.

With 20% equity, the company is debt-free after approximately 39 years. That’s how long it pays off interest and principal with the rent it collects, without writing any losses. And from then on, the company even starts to show profits.


The company apartment offers companies an attractive solution to two immense problems: through targeted housing construction, it counteracts the crisis on the German housing market. And by offering housing, a company makes itself attractive to potential employees and thus has a competitive advantage.

The realization of a company apartment can be designed very flexibly. It is all the more important to find out about all the options in advance. You can find a first overview in this series of articles.

Other parts of this series

Autorin Sarah Völkl

Sarah Völkl hat Architektur studiert und ist seit Jahren das Gesicht von a better place. Mit ihren Videos ist sie bei YouTube vielen Personen schon länger bekannt. Sarah teilt Ihr Wissen jetzt auch bei den Bautipps von Almondia.

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