Sustainable development in Germany - 17 Goals to Transform our World

Housing – Affordable housing for all

Indicator 11.3: Housing cost overload

(Evaluation of the year 2019 as reporting year from indicator report 2021)


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This overview includes additional information on the indicators presented above, such as a brief definition of the indicator and a description of the politically determined target value, as well as the political intention for selecting the indicator.

Definition of indicators (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

The indicator shows the share of people living in households where more than 40% of disposable household income is spent on housing. Housing costs comprise rent and ancillary charges, energy costs and water bills as well as, in the case of home ownership, investments to maintain the value of a property and interest payments on associated loans.

Target and intention of the German Government (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

High housing costs place restrictions on households with regard to their other consumption choices. Housing expenses amounting to more than 40% of disposable household income are considered to be excessive. The share of people who live in households where more than 40% of disposable household income is spent on housing is therefore to be reduced to 13% by 2030.

Data state

The data published in the indicator report 2021 is as of 31.12.2020. The data shown on the DNS-Online-Platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2021.

Last modification of code (data) 2021-01-28: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window
Last modification of code (text) 2022-02-14: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window

Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy

The data used for this indicator come from the harmonised European statistics on income and living conditions (EU‑SILC). The indicator expresses housing costs relative to disposable household income. If a household is receiving housing benefits or comparable social benefits, such as social-security payments for accommodation and heating, these are also included in the calculations. These social benefits are not added to the income amount but are deducted from the housing costs, so that the burden of housing expenses on households that rely on housing-related social benefits is reduced or almost nullified.

The purchase of owner-occupied property is not included in housing costs. Other spending on measures to enhance the value of a property is not taken into account either − though it is not always possible to clearly differentiate such spending from value-maintaining expenditure, which does count as part of housing costs. In such cases, established assumptions are applied to simplify the calculation. Nor does the indicator take into account any additional costs associated with the geographical location. For instance, expenditure on travel from a person’s place of residence to their workplace is not taken into account, although it is possible that the long commuting distance is the only reason that their housing costs remain below the 40% threshold.

By defining the threshold value as 40% of disposable household income, the indicator provides no information about average housing costs in absolute terms. If clusters emerge close to the threshold, even small alterations in the ratio of income to housing costs can cause major changes in the indicator. The indicator rose from 14.5% in 2010 to a relatively constant 16% from 2011 to 2016. In 2017, it went back down to the starting rate of 14.5%, before reducing further in 2018, to 14.2%, and yet further in 2019, when it reached 13.9%. The value is therefore lower than the level it started at in 2010. If the average trend recorded over the last five years continued, the goal set for 2030 would be achieved.

With regard to the actual housing situation and disposable income, the indicator provides only a limited amount of meaningful information. After all, the calculation method means that households with high incomes and high expenditure on housing also appear to be overburdened. Meanwhile, the data show that it is people at risk of poverty − that is, those with less than 60% of the median equivalised income for the population − who are particularly affected by excessive housing costs. Some 42.2% of people at risk of poverty were overburdened by housing costs in 2010, rising to 54.4% by 2014. That figure then sank to 48.3% by 2019. In contrast, excessive housing costs affected a markedly smaller proportion of people considered not at risk of poverty. The 2019 figure of 8.0% was lower than the 9.4% recorded in 2010 and peak of 10.5% reached in 2011.

This summary table illustrates the evaluations of the indicator by status of previous years. This shows whether the weather symbol for an indicator has been stable or rather volatile in the past years. (Evaluations from the indicator report 2021)


11.3 Housing cost overload


Reduce the proportion of people who are overburdened to 13% by 2030






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Source 1

 Federal Statistical Office


Federal Statistical Office

Data source Housing cost overburden rate opens in a new window