30 square metres, built-in kitchen and one-and-a-half kilometers away from the university – these roughly are the statistics for a typical student apartment in Germany. However, whereas a student in Munich paid 580 euros for rent including heating last year, a student paid only 329 euros for the same apartment in Bochum, roughly 40 percent less. This is the result of the index that the IW Cologne and DREF will in future be preparing regularly at the start of each semester, based on a database from ImmobilienScout24.

Students pay more than in the year 2010 in all eleven cities analyzed. With a price increase of just under 30 percent, Berlin in particular has become considerably more expensive – especially because many younger persons are moving into the city: between 2012 and 2014, the number of one-person households inhabited by persons aged 18 to 29 increased by five percent. At 386 euros for the student model apartment, the rent still is lower than in Munich, Hamburg and Cologne.

In cities with expensive student apartments, the supply of state-sponsored residences for students is relatively low – and vice versa. In Bochum, for instance, more rooms in student residences are available than in Frankfurt/Main, an expensive location.

"More and more singles are looking for apartments – not only students and apprentices, but also commuters and persons with limited employment agreements," says IW property expert Michael Voigtländer. "The demand for small apartments has seen a disproportionate rise, which is why investors and project developers are now tasked with finding innovative and affordable solutions for small households."

"In the past, we’ve had no reliable data for rent development on the student accommodation market in Germany. This will change with this index, which not only reflects the level of rents but also the increase of rents from time to time. For property investors in particular, this represents key fundamental data," says Felix Bauer, CEO and CSO of Deutsche Real Estate Funds.