Warsaw will see demand for 141,700 flats over the next decade, a growth of some 20 percent in the city’s housing stock, outstripping six major European cities and second only to London, according to a study by DIW Econ on behalf of Austrian developer Wiener Komfortwohnungen.
The study indicated that the city would need to build on average some 16,000 flats per year in order to keep up with demand.
The demand for flats in Warsaw is higher than in cities which are two or three times the size of Poland’s capital. By comparison, Amsterdam needs just under 69,000 flats, Berlin 118,000 and Vienna 110,000.
In terms of the cumulative demand relative to the existing stock of flats, only Copenhagen, which needs an increase of 27 percent, exceeds Warsaw’s requirement of just over 20 percent growth.
Slower growth rates
Despite performing well against other cities, the study seems to indicate slower growth rates than in previous years. In 2019 a total of 21,600 dwellings were handed over in Warsaw.
Previous studies have indicated that Poles are beginning to “spread out”, wanting more space as prosperity rises, and moving away from the model of multi-generational residences. At the same time, younger people want to live where the jobs are, creating excessive demand in and around larger cities like Warsaw, Wrocław, Kraków and Poznań.
Currently the average Polish family lives in a three-room dwelling of 80.4 sqm according to Statistics Poland data, giving each resident an average of 28.7 sqm. The space for each resident has grown by 5.5 sqm. or 21 percent over the last seven years, and 68 percent since the fall of communism, when the average flat was 17.1 sqm.
By comparison, however, the average living space per citizen in the EU is 40 sqm, while in Scandinavia the average is over 50 sqm.
What kind of flats will we build?
The pandemic is changing the real estate market, according to an article in forsal.pl “Our apartments will be partly our offices. This should increase the size of the apartments sought,” property journalist Andrzej Prajsnar of Rynek Pierwotny told forsal.
Prajsnar sees demand for luxury blocks flats in the city centre increasing, as people are more reluctant to leave the confines of their homes. The demand for those with tip top facilities like swimming pools for the exclusive use of residents on site will grow faster, in his view.
Earlier in the pandemic analysts pointed to growing demand for housing on the outskirts of larger cities,as lockdown-weary city dwellers were seeking more outdoor space. The overall effect on the shape of housing will depend very much on how long the COVID-19 threat hangs over us.