This paper studies the impact of the 2015 mass arrival of refugees to Germany on residential housing rents at county level. Using unique data for 2014 and 2015 on end of year (EoY) county-level refugee populations and their type of accommodation, as well as municipality-level information on the location and type of centralized accommodation facilities and data on monthly offers of flats for rent from Germany’s leading online property broker, we find strong evidence for a negative effect of refugee immigration on rental prices for residential housing in Germany. An increase in the county-level EoY refugee population equal to one percent of the initial local population is associated with a lower average rental price of 0.51 % in the last quarter of 2015, and a lower average rental price of 0.93 % in the first quarter of 2016. IV regressions that exploit for identification variation in intra-state distances between counties that house refugee reception centers and surrounding counties as well as the county-level share of municipalities housing at least one group quarter in 2014 produce even stronger negative price effects; these prices effects, however, seem to be attenuated if a larger proportion of refugees is housed in decentralized accommodations. Our finding of a negative price effect is at odds with the majority of studies which have investigated the consequences of immigration for local property markets at the county or city level. These diverging results may reflect differences in natives perceptions of potential adverse externalities associated with refugee migration, differences of seemingly sufficient magnitude to successfully counteract and outweigh any positive demand-side driven stimulus of immigration for higher rental prices.


Michael Kvasnicka

Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg


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19.07.2018 | 14:00 - 15:30 (CET)

Event Location

ZEW – Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung

L 7, 1 68161 Mannheim




Head of Junior Research Group