Rainer Schorr: Suburbanisation is an important trend in Berlin

From the countryside to the surrounding area, this is how migration movements within Germany over the past 20 years can be summarised.

“After almost all major German cities have recorded a clearly positive migration balance and thus a noticeable increase in population since 2010, this movement is currently leveling off again,” says Rainer Schorr, Managing Director of PRS Family Trust GmbH.

One reason for this is that the influx of young people from structurally weak areas is slowly ebbing away. “Where there are hardly any families with children left, the potential for migration is also low.

On the other hand, the excess demand from people looking for housing and — due to the continuing low interest rate environment — investors led to a sharp rise in housing prices and rents. Initially in the inner cities and, with a time lag, but with growing momentum, also in the peripheral areas.

“Immigration and relocation behavior in the major cities generally develop in cascades,” says Rainer Schorr. “New residents focus on the centre when looking for accommodation, while those already living in the city are moving to the outskirts or beyond due to a change in leisure behaviour and a generally greater need for space.

Added to this is the price dynamic, which makes the surrounding area increasingly attractive for almost all population groups. “Insufficient construction activity in the housing sector, which tends to be affordable, will probably continue to lead to a demand overhang and thus cause prices to rise,” says Rainer Schorr. “On the other hand, infrastructural improvements in peripheral areas mean that commuting to the city will take less time in many places.” This leads to a greater willingness to be mobile, which supports the trend towards the surrounding area.

The rural peripheral regions, on the other hand, continue to lose inhabitants. This raises the question to what extent these trends will develop in the future. Has the phase of sustained urbanisation come to a halt and will suburban areas therefore continue to be the target of increased migration? A study by the real estate service provider Catella confirms this assumption. According to this study, further growth of the large cities can be expected between 2020 and 2030, although it will be much less dynamic than in the past decade. But a detailed examination of a few selected regions in the metropolitan areas shows that the cities and municipalities there have been able to record strong population growth in some cases between 2018 and 2020. However, the trend towards green areas has long since been driven not only by families with tight budgets and large land requirements. “With the exception of 18 to 30 year olds, practically all age cohorts are currently migrating to the surrounding area,” says Rainer Schorr.