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Leipzig has the highest satisfaction rating of any German city.
With Germany’s residential housing markets still bubbling along for at least the fourth year in a row, all manner of housing and investment-related indices have sprung up in Germany to track the market’s progress. A new study published by property portal Immonet and carried out by market research institute GfK attempts to quantify some of the more emotional aspects of the location decision – in other words, what do residents actually look for when deciding where to live and what factors do they deem most important.
The researchers questioned 1500 residents across 15 of Germany’s largest cities: Hamburg, Bremen, Hannover, Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Munich. The questioning related to residents’ satisfaction with living in their city, and what they considered most important to their quality of life.
Among the main findings of the survey: The key factor affecting residents’ well-being was the “perceived quality and safety” of their neighbourhood. About 86% preferred plenty of greenery around them to any “urban hip” factors. Leipzig has the highest satisfaction rating of any German city. Duisburg and Nuremberg have the highest number of dissatisfied residents.
The proximity to green spaces emerges as the key desirability factor among those surveyed, with only 20% favouring a trendy hip scene in their neighbourhood over closeness to parks and other green areas. Other factors such as closeness to place of work (65.2%) and availability of schools and kindergartens (35.8%) came further down the rankings.
The ‘perceived quality and safety’ of their neighbourhood, the single most important factor affecting respondents’ well-being, is commented on in the report by Dr. Sebastian Zenker, Immonet’s expert for housing and urban development. “Where you live is an important part of your identity, and we are always being socially compared with others. Hence it’s important for our self-image to come from a well-reputed neighbourhood – along the lines of “Tell me where you live, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
The study concludes that the right mix of factors proves to be decisive – with Leipzig, Cologne and Munich having the best overall mix leading to their residents’ highest satisfaction ratings. Leipzigers praise the high green content in their city, Leipzig’s general standing, high-quality facilities for children and elderly people, and a good urban infrastructure. Not surprisingly, Cologne’s residents rate factors very highly that promote sociability and togetherness - proximity to family and friends (62.7%), abundance of cafés and restaurants (63.9%) prominent among the scores they give. Munich, despite its climate and countless opportunities for socialising, gives its highest ratings to its green spaces and its high safety factor, with the city enjoying the lowest degree of social problems in Germany.
Not surprisingly, others of Germany’s biggest cities also score well, including Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden. Perhaps a little surprising is the high scores given to the city by the residents of Hannover, pushing the city into 4th place (partly because of the high scores achieved by the city’s public transport system).