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Wilhelminian style perimeter block development in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen, Seehofstrasse

The term housing construction (almost synonymous: housing production ) refers to the construction of buildings or entire settlements that are primarily used for living. Housing construction influences the cityscape , settlement density , urban development , traffic flows and the housing market . Housing construction can be privately or publicly initiated.

In many countries, buildings where people live and work under one roof still dominate today. In the course of industrialization , the population - especially in the cities - grew rapidly. In many places new houses or entire streets with houses were built. Rental houses are sometimes seen as a lucrative investment ; they can also be the object of speculation . After the First World War, housing was discovered as a social responsibility of the state. It was about eliminating or alleviating the housing shortage and keeping rents affordable. Since then there have been various government housing programs . One form that should be mentioned is social housing .

Housing construction often comes to a complete standstill in times of war. The resources are there as part of a war economy in military installations . After the end of a war there is a lot of catching up to do, not least because of the destruction that occurred.

Scientific perspectives

Housing construction and the housing industry are objects of consideration for numerous sciences, e.g. B. Social geography , business administration , economics .

  • Dealing with the client's decision-making process, with special consideration of the allocation process, can provide explanations for the spatial pattern of the built (residential) environment.
  • The given often shapes the new. The given land use always competes with alternative types of use. Met location decisions may be reviewed by demolition , change of use or alteration of housing. If the production of new buildings exceeds the number or area of ​​demolitions, the stock of living space or residential buildings increases.
  • Housing production is an object of housing policy of local authorities and other institutions.

“The housing industry and the housing market cannot be viewed in isolation, but must be seen in a larger context. This includes that the upstream markets for land, construction and (long-term) capital must be taken into account. "

- Jenkis : Compendium of the Housing Industry (1996), p. 73

Housing construction in statistics

The Federal Statistical Office compiles numerous statistics for Germany on the stock of residential buildings and apartments. Time series enable time series analyzes (= longitudinal studies ). Housing construction includes all apartments - including dormitories - whose total usable area serves at least 50% of housing needs. A residential building with individual rooms for other purposes, such as business premises , counts as an overall residential building. The conversion or expansion of previously otherwise used buildings or rooms into apartments is also assigned to residential construction. If, on the other hand, business premises are subsequently built into a residential complex or apartments are converted into business premises, this is a commercial construction.

Housing construction is statistically differentiated from

The European System of Social Indicators resulted in a number of working papers. In 2011, a Europe-wide population, building and housing census took place.

Housing construction in the national economy

If construction activity increases in one country, this can lead to economic growth in other sectors as well. There have been ups and downs in the construction industry in the past; The factors influencing this were the development of demand, the development of real and nominal interest rates, fears of inflation and external factors (such as the fall of the Berlin Wall). Boom phases in the construction sector can end with the bursting of a real estate bubble and lead to loan defaults in the banking sector. In some cases, property developers produce without having sold an apartment when construction began; sometimes they produce when all apartments have been sold (then the buyer can have more influence on the floor plan, furnishings and the like). Some construction companies do a lot with their own employees or workers; others mainly employ subcontractors (see vertical range of manufacture ). Some trades or parts of the construction process are subject to restrictions due to outside temperature and weather.

The capital market

If the construction costs determine the majority of the investment sum to be raised in residential construction, the respective market interest rate over the resulting annuity results in the amount of the rent. At first, it does not matter whether the builder can mainly use equity or whether the money has to be raised on the capital market. If housing construction is viewed as a capital investment, the return to be achieved through rent competes with the market interest rates and will - as with predominantly external financing - be based on this.

Capital cycles when renting apartments (own graphic, GPL)

It is undisputed that the interest on the construction costs makes up the majority of the cost rent. However, there are controversial opinions about how their share will develop within the life cycle of an apartment, especially when the mortgage has been paid off. While the owner is no longer obliged to pay interest, the tenant must continue to pay the rent. In theory, no tenant is tied to his apartment; it is exchangeable and does not acquire co-ownership through the rent payment and, as a rule, no right of residence. The lease does not regulate hire purchase, but rather the lending of goods. Throughout the life of the apartment, the tenant pays interest on the capital borrowed. For the builder, the share of the interest-bearing equity in the total capital increases during the debt relief period until he can finally book the entire (net) rent as interest on equity, namely the apartment that now belongs to him.

The following consequences for the housing market result from this central importance of the interest rate within a housing industry that is primarily understood as capital utilization:

  • The development of the new build (cost) rent can be roughly estimated on the basis of the building costs and market interest rates. The intensity of new construction production will essentially depend on how far the respective situation on the housing market can be expected to cover the cost rent.
  • Interest rate fluctuations in the capital market rarely have a direct impact on rent levels in the housing stock via cost rents (mortgages are usually granted at fixed interest rates), but high interest rates and a decline in construction output can cause rents to rise

The land market

Apartment buildings (in the background) replaced almost all of the village-like buildings in the former suburbs in the rapidly growing Vienna of the Wilhelminian era, picture from around 1900

Urban soil plays a special role in housing production: it is the prerequisite for building. It cannot be increased indefinitely, in many states there is a state-regulated building law , and so it is limited. The property value is to be taken into account proportionally for the individual apartments, from which the expected return can be calculated according to the basic rent theory . Alternatives to buying a plot of land are registered right of residence and leasehold . The land price is not only based on the potential rent; Competing types of use - for example residential, commercial, retail - must also be taken into account.

The upper limit of the land rent is only limited by the willingness of the potential buyer to pay, assuming a private, economically rational land owner. Due to the uniqueness of each property with its specific location, the urban land market is falling apart; in extreme cases (as can be manifested in the core of metropolises, for example) each property has its own market.

There is a contradiction in the literature on the valuation of the basic rent and its allocative function. The discussion can be traced back to around 1900. At that time there was a debate about a possible land reform with two camps: On the one hand, there were those who ascribed a macroeconomic function to the basic rent and the speculation resulting from it . The economist Adolf Weber (1876–1963) should be cited as representative:

"The economic benefits of land speculation consist of the following:

  1. It prevents the defiance, obstinacy and lack of business experience of the urban peasants from hampering the development of the city at crucial moments;
  2. it takes on a large part of the risk of future development;
  3. in order to keep this risk within as narrow limits as possible, speculation promotes the initiative to open up and develop new building land. "

Others assessed the basic pension as "parasitic". It is not the merit of any achievement, but rather the land speculation causes rising land prices and housing shortages. Representatives of this view - including Adolf Damaschke (1865–1935) - advocated land reform and demanded that property be nationalized, at least in individual cases.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Housing construction  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Federal Statistical Office, Fachserie 4, Reihe 5.1, 2011, page 7
  2. European System of Social Indicators ( Memento of May 1, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), information from GESIS - Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences
  3. Manfred Wünsche: Examination preparation for accountants , 6th edition, Springer - Gabler, Wiesbaden 2012, pages 17, 119 etc.
  4. Soil and Housing: Eight guiding principles on the dispute over the urban land and housing issue. Leipzig 1908 .