Berlin Rent Freeze Shakes Foundations of City’s Construction Sector

Jörg Jahnke Dachbau, a Berlin roofing company, is facing a new year’s slump with few parallels in its history, the Financial Times reported. “It’s an absolute disaster,” said its managing director, Joachim Meder. “I’ve lost €4.5m in orders. It’s as if someone’s just turned out the lights.” The culprit is the Berlin city government’s plan to freeze rents for five years — a move critics describe as one of the most far-reaching interventions in the capital’s housing market since German reunification. The legislation, which should come into force by March this year, is City Hall’s response to a lingering housing crisis that shows no sign of easing. Packed out with Brexit refugees, international party people and wannabe tech entrepreneurs, Berlin is in expansion mode, its population growing by 40,000 a year. Yet affordable housing remains scarce. Read more