This paper uses the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) as a basis for longitudinal and cross-sectional analyses of the development of the housing cost burden, and also explores the historical significance of the social question. Overall, it reveals that a booming labour market combined with a reduction in living space has kept the housing cost burden constant for many households. Only for a few occupants has the burden actually increased to any noticeable extent, and even then it has been accompanied by a simultaneous increase in satisfaction with their accommodation. Yet if housing cannot be described as the social issue of our time, many households still need support and their number could rise, particularly in view of the virus-related economic crisis of 2020. The instruments available for this purpose, such as housing benefit and subsidised housing, thus need to be strengthened. However, especially in the latter case, attention must be paid to improving their targeting.