The housing market is in crisis. The need for housing is immense, especially in large cities. In the next five years alone, around 400,000 apartments will have to be built every year to meet demand. That is why the principle of employee housing is experiencing a renaissance: in the form of employee housing. In this article we will introduce you to the new concept of employee housing. The two very different examples of Stadtwerke München on the one hand and the Berlin bakery Märkisches Landbrot on the other show that the employee housing model not only offers attractive advantages, but can also be realized for large and small companies.
the essentials in brief
- The offer of employee apartments attracts qualified specialists and thus creates a market advantage.
- In order to relax the housing market, politicians are also committed to building employee housing.
- The modern concept is worthwhile for employers and employees.
Company apartment relaunched: the concept of the employee apartment
In 2016, the German housing market is running really hot: While the demand for affordable living space keeps increasing, the supply can hardly keep up. The result is a severe housing shortage. Cheap apartments have become a rarity, especially in metropolitan areas such as Berlin or Munich.
Whoever offers them creates a clear competitive advantage. Because the salary is no longer the decisive factor for job seekers today – what good is a high salary if extortionate rents eat up a large part of it? Employers who can provide affordable living space are therefore more convincing: They can attract highly sought-after specialists and bind them to their company in the long term. This is the new concept of staff housing.
It differs from the company housing of the 1970s in that the employees are no longer seen as workers who need to be accommodated effectively. Instead, today’s employees are sought-after specialists who can choose between numerous job offers autonomously and openly to the world.
In order to create a market advantage for themselves through qualified employees, companies should therefore be encouraged to invest more in housing construction again. Particularly practical: Many companies have large freestanding areas. Undeveloped, the areas lie fallow and could therefore be used for residential construction. Another advantage of the new employee housing model: the interest rates for construction financing are currently at a historically low level. [ads-pullquote-left]For a home loan with a fixed interest rate of ten years, the interest is around 1.5%.[/ads-pullquote-left]That is why the current concept of employee housing is not only an option for large companies, but also for medium-sized companies, such as the Berlin bakery example given below Markisches Landbrot shows.
Politicians are getting strong: Reiter is promoting employee housing
Politicians are also committed to strengthening the new employee housing model. Because the concept promises the construction of new apartments and thus a relaxation of the housing market. This necessity is particularly evident in Munich, for example: In the Bavarian state capital, affordable living space is scarcer than ever. That is why Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) is campaigning for the large corporations to build employee housing.
So far, however, these tend to rent or buy houses instead of building. New incentives are therefore to be created through intended changes in the law, which encourage both large and medium-sized companies to invest in housing construction.
Munich as a pioneer: Stadtwerke München show how it’s done
So it is no surprise that the large company Stadtwerke München (SWM), which is run by the city, is taking the lead as a pioneer in the construction of new employee housing. [ads-pullquote-right]”These apartments are just the start for many more that we will build in the coming years.” SWM boss Biederbach on muenchen.de[/ads-pullquote-right]In 2011, the company launched a large-scale housing offensive: by 2020, the number of employee apartments is to be almost doubled to over 1,000. This means that the construction of more than 500 employee apartments is planned.
The municipal utility is investing 120 million euros in the project, which will be financed by the sale of vacant plots of land that are unsuitable for residential construction. A special advantage is the concession of politics: With special permits, the construction can also be realized on company-owned properties, which would not be allowed for residential construction.
Another advantage of the company is that Stadtwerke München already has some experience in the real estate industry: SWM Immobilien has been building and managing real estate for decades.
Above all, 1- to 3-room apartments are planned, as these are particularly attractive for employees according to current market studies. But some family apartments are also to be built. Overall, Stadtwerke relies on a mix of apartments in order to meet the different needs of their employees.
In Haidhausen, for example, 17 apartments are planned, with 51-109 square meters. The five-storey building complex is to be completed within a year by August 2016, in order to then be rented to employees of the municipal utility at low cost.
A market advantage – even for small companies
Joachim Weckmann is head of the Berlin organic bakery Märkisches Landbrot . The medium-sized company with 55 employees has its production headquarters in Berlin’s trendy district of Neukölln. In 2008, Weckmann made a decision: In order to avoid rising rents and purchase prices in Neukölln, the managing director decided to buy an apartment building. If one of the 33 apartments becomes vacant, he can offer it to his employees as employee housing at favorable conditions.
Weckmann benefits in many ways from the concept of employee housing: he can cover interest and repayments with the rental income from the residential building – although his employees pay significantly less than the usual net cold rent with a rent of 6 to 6.50 euros per square meter.
As the owner, he can guarantee his employees inexpensive living space in the long term: This attracts qualified employees and creates a clear market advantage.
Joachim Weckmann also notes that employees are more loyal to their employer. You feel connected to it and therefore stay with the company for a longer period of time. Furthermore, employees are more motivated to do their jobs well. And the relationship between the employees is also strengthened: when the colleague becomes a neighbor, it creates a friendly relationship and thus a better working atmosphere.
Weckmann decided against the independent construction of a residential unit mainly because the company does not own any plots of land suitable for construction. This is also the opinion of Arnt von Bodelschwingh, head of the study Economy Makes Living : “Money isn’t actually a problem, the problem is the space”. That is why Bodelschwingh demands that politicians step in here and also support medium-sized companies in building their own staff housing.
Because the success story of the organic bakery Märkisches Landbrot clearly shows that the concept is worthwhile for employees and employers.
In this article, we have used various examples to show you not only the advantages of employee housing, but also that the housing project is very easy to implement.
Other parts of this series
- Company housing part I – what they were then and what they could be today
- Company housing part II – The company housing today – tips and tricks in the legal jungle
- Company apartments Part III – Employee apartments – A tried and tested concept is becoming a trend again!
Leave a Reply