Greater Allowances would Entice Majority of Germans to Go for Homeownership
Less than half of all German households live within their own four walls, and this even though most of them actually crave homeownership, as numerous survey and polls show. But what would it take to entice households to act upon their desire and to put their money where their mouth is, in a manner of speaking? In a representative Statista survey, 57 percent of the respondents stated that government allowances would be one reason to get more serious about the subject of homeownership. The poll, commissioned by the Interhyp mortgage broker, took place prior to the coronavirus pandemic.1
Another incentive would be a reduction of the incidental acquisition costs. Nearly six out of ten respondents (59 percent) said that lowering the costs of real estate transfer tax, estate agent and notary would motivate them to opt for homeownership. As with a direct government allowance such as the child tax credit for first-time home buyers, the body politic could influence the amount of the incidental acquisition costs, e.g. by reducing the real estate transfer tax rate.2
Price Cut would Motivate Many to Buy
Going forward, condominium buyer do have reason to expect the incidental acquisition costs to go down. Although the body politic is by no means about to agree on a reform of the real estate transfer tax, there is a consensus that agent’s fees should be reformed. In future, buyers will no longer be expected to pay more than half of the agent fee incurred.
A majority of survey respondents (74 percent) would also welcome lower selling prices as incentive for homeownership. In fact, many probably hope that selling prices will soften soon in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, but the latest surveys see no sign for that. According to several surveys, it is even doubtful whether selling prices will go down at any point as the year progresses.3
Among Non-Owners, 48 Percent Seriously Intend to Pursue Homeownership
But apart from all that, the survey shows that a remarkably large share of those who do not own their homes yet seriously plan to acquire one in the near or medium-term future. Almost half of the respondents (48 percent) intend to buy or build a home at some point in the future, and nearly one in five (19 percent) actually plan to do so within the next five years. At the same time, 18 percent expect to become homeowners within the next ten years, and 11 percent at some point in the more distant future.
The fact that so many respondents have such a long-term planning horizon demonstrates that the homeownership decision is not a spontaneous affair but represents a length process that may take years. The experts at Interhyp therefore assume that the coronavirus crisis will probably cause people to put their home-buying decisions on the back burner rather than shelving them altogether.