BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - According to a study, the situation is becoming increasingly difficult for people looking for housing. "The housing construction problem is immense," said Michael Voigtländer, real estate market expert at the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Koln, to the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers. The institute, which is close to employers, had previously assumed that 308,000 new apartments would have to be built each year. According to a new study, it has now put the need at 372,000, partly due to immigration, which has recently been stronger than the institute had expected.

Last year, 295,000 apartments were completed nationwide; the federal government had set itself the target of 400,000 per year at the start. "We must now significantly increase construction activity," said Voigtländer. The pressure on the rental housing market will increase significantly. On average, only 59 percent of the required apartments are being built in the seven largest cities. Rents for new lettings are rising much more sharply than before, particularly in conurbations./bf/DP/zb