Zensus 2022 Census: 4.3% of all dwellings are vacant

Press release No. 46 of July 4, 2024

  • On 15 May 2022, 1.9 million dwellings in Germany were unoccupied
  • Slightly over one third (38%) of vacant dwellings are available for occupancy

WIESBADEN - Across Germany, around 1.9 million dwellings were vacant on 15 May 2022. Based on the results of the 2022 Census, the statistical offices of the Federation and the Länder also report that this is equivalent to a vacancy rate of 4.3%.
"Over one half of all vacant dwellings in Germany have been unoccupied for at least a year", says Ruth Brand, President of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).
"Slightly over one third of all vacant dwellings were available for occupancy within the next three months." This translates to around 700,000 dwellings (38% of all vacant dwellings).

In the case of older dwellings built before 1919, two thirds (66%) of dwellings vacant have been unoccupied for at least a year. Of Germany's newest dwellings, i.e. those built after 2015, just over one third (34%) are empty. In the city states of Hamburg and Berlin, around one vacant dwelling in three is unoccupied for twelve months or more (35% and 29%, respectively). The same is true for almost two thirds of the dwellings vacant in Sachsen-Anhalt and Thüringen (64% and 68%, respectively).

One unoccupied dwelling in five (20%) is vacant for less than three months. This "short-term vacancy" share varies greatly from region to region, however, ranging from 41% in Berlin to 13% in both Sachsen-Anhalt and Thüringen.

Slightly over one third of vacant dwellings available for occupancy
Nationwide, only just over one third (38%) of all the dwellings vacant were available for occupancy within the next three months, irrespective of how long the dwellings had already been unoccupied. This share is significantly higher in the city states of Hamburg (52%), Bremen (54%) and Berlin (61%). The older a vacant dwelling is, the less likely that it will be available for letting immediately. The share of dwellings that are available for occupancy is much lower (28%) in the oldest buildings (constructed before 1919) than in the newest buildings (60%), i.e. those constructed since 2016.

At the time of the survey, building or renovation work was either planned or underway in almost one vacant dwelling in every four (24%). Building work is cited as the reason for dwelling vacancy with varying frequency, accounting for 19% of cases in Bremen and 27% of cases in Thüringen. At 30%, vacancies in buildings constructed before 1919 are more likely to be attributable to planned building works than vacancies in buildings constructed between 2010 and 2015 (14%). Demolition plans only applied to around 4% of vacant dwellings nationwide, with 7% of vacant dwellings cited as scheduled for demolition in Hamburg and just over 1% in Bremen.

Methodological notes:
The Census is designed to provide nationally comparable results for a specific reference date while keeping the burden on respondents to a minimum. The 2022 Census was carried out using a register-assisted procedure, as was the 2011 Census. This means that existing administrative data were used - particularly from the population registers. The real estate owners to be surveyed were determined, for instance, on the basis of real property tax data. Where no or not enough administrative data were available or the data quality was insufficient, surveys were conducted to obtain the required data. Roughly 12% of the population were polled in the household survey. Approximately 23 million residential property owners provided information on their property for the census of buildings and housing, as did some 8,000 housing companies. For the first time, questions were asked in relation to the rent charged, the heating energy used and the reasons for dwelling vacancy and the vacancy duration. Information on the conduct of the 2022 Census is also provided in the Factsheet zum Ablauf der Befragungen.

More information:
These and other results of the 2022 Census can be accessed at www.zensus2022.de. In the press section, you can find current information for the press, press releases, contacts, press photos and further downloads relating to the 2022 Census.

In addition, the website provides:

  • Regional tables for download (in EXCEL format, including machine-readable tables). The regional tables contain data for regional levels - Germany, Länder, administrative regions, urban districts/towns not attached to an administrative district/rural districts, associations of municipalities, and municipalities. They cover the following five subject areas:
    1. Population figures
    2. Demographics
    3. Census of buildings and housing
    4. Education and employment
    5. Households and families
  • The Census Atlas, an interactive map which comprises results for the population, buildings and dwellings on the basis of grid cells (10 km, 1 km and 100 m).
    For the first four maps of the Census Atlas, tables to accompany the grid cells are available for download (in CSV format; 10 km, 1 km and 100 m grid). The topics are:
    1. Population
    2. Type of heating
    3. Energy source used for heating
    4. Net rent exclusive of heating expenses per square metre
    More maps and data sets at grid cell level will follow.
  • Podcasts, videos and animations with background information (for example about the benefits of the data)

The results will be published in other formats on a gradual basis. More results will be provided in the Census database from mid-July 2024, first on the subject areas of population (demographics), and buildings and dwellings. Data on households and families, education and employment and the new publication of the results for 2011 based on the territorial boundaries of 2022 will follow in a phased approach.

From approximately September 2024 onwards, the portfolio will be supplemented by the Census Results Portal. This portal provides low-threshold access and mainly features visual presentations for the various subject areas of the census at municipality level.

Links to all applications (Census Database and Census Results Portal) will be provided at www.zensus2022.de once they are available. We will also notify all subscribers to our Census Newsletter about further additions to our website. You can register for the newsletter on our press page. At x.com/Zensus2022 we will also keep you abreast of our latest releases.

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For further information:
Press office, Tel: +49 611 75 3444 (service number)

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