Berlin implements rent freeze/rollback, formula to determine rents, activists agitate for expropriation

Government freezes rent for 5 years and creates a rent cap. Rent cap is $4.30 per square meter for older apartments with few amenities, and as much as $10.90 for newer apartments with better amenities. Current rent in central Berlin is $12 per square foot. Will be allowed to raise rents at 1.3% or inflation.

Activists want the government to buy 250k properties, or 1/8th of the housing stock. SPD and CDU remain against such a move.

Until 15 years ago Berlin was dirt cheap (no numbers given). But now housing costs about 40% as much as New York. More than 80% of Berliners rent.

My favourite part of the article

Schulte’s team identified the actual owners of Firman Properties: Mark, David, and Trevor Pears, three reclusive brothers from London who own a majority of the privately held William Pears Group property company and, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, are worth about $4 billion. “They’re very secretive,” Schulte says. “One of them, you can’t even find photographs.” (Schulte isn’t his real name; he uses a pseudonym when talking to the press about real estate because he’s looking for a new apartment.)