Berlin’s co-operative solution to housing affordability

24 July 2015

Like many Australian cities, Berlin residents are facing high property prices and constantly rising rents in the search for a home in the German capital. However, it is turning to some innovative solutions to help alleviate the crisis.

Under a co-operative “self-build” model (Baugruppen or build groups), a group of people – often connected through an architect – pool their funds to buy land, then work together to design and build their own apartment block.

The result is an interesting inversion of the typical construction model: development without developers – or the need for a profit margin. On top of all this, for one resident, her apartment cost her 20 per cent less than the median price for one in Berlin’s most sought after suburb.

“We say we killed the developer, because we do not need him any more,” said architect Markus Lager of Kaden and Lager.

In a trend not that different to Sydney or Melbourne, property prices are up 54.5 per cent since 2009 in Berlin– far outstripping the growth in any other German city, according to Immobilien Scout GmbH, the country’s biggest online property agency.

Perhaps the innovative thinking of some Berliners may catch the eye of some Australian home buyers, communities or policymakers.


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