At the beginning of the Corona crisis there was the assumption that property prices would fall for the first time in a long time during the pandemic. Many other industries suffered from the lockdown, and unemployment or short-time work in the wake of the pandemic could lose a lot of purchasing power, experts said at the time in spring 2020.
But in the meantime, the exact opposite has been shown: On December 28, 2020, the Federal Statistical Office published the prices for residential property for the third quarter of the year. The evaluation shows that the prices have not fallen, but have increased by almost 8 percent compared to the previous year. The Sparkasse explains that the demand for smaller properties in the surrounding area is now high.
One reason for this is undoubtedly the very low interest rates. Another: Between lockdown and home office, people have come to appreciate how valuable their own garden or at least a balcony can be when public and social life is almost at a standstill. For example, Stephan Kippes, who heads the market research institute of the German Real Estate Association (ivd), told the “BR”: Since the pandemic, people have been looking for properties with balconies, terraces and gardens. And in an analysis of the price developments for condominiums and houses, the Empirica Institute writes in a report: “Inner city slugs are practical, but unattractive with Corona. The willingness to pay for the balcony or garden has therefore increased ”.
In addition, the desire for nature now seems to be realizable in times of the permanent home office. Those who can work from home and do not have to take long commutes to the office every day can also live further outside – they become more independent of the employer’s location.
“Plants convey security and security”
But where exactly does the strong longing for green suddenly come from in the midst of a crisis? The residential psychologist Uwe Linke from Munich deals with the reasons why people choose their special living environment and which emotional needs are behind it. “Plants convey security and security because they show us that we are part of living nature and that we benefit from it,” he says. “Even if you are not always aware of this, the mere visual contact works and lets us calm down internally.”
This is also confirmed by various studies. For a new study, scientists examined how people dealt with the pandemic between March and June 2020. It turned out that those who had plants in their home were generally better off than those without greenery in their apartment or house. “Green has an extremely calming effect on us. We associate the color green with nature, freshness, liveliness and summer, ”explains Linke.
So that could also be a factor in why people are drawn to the suburbs in times of crisis. Cities came into being because not everyone in the field wanted to be self-sufficient, explains Linke. Trade and services flourished. “If this aspect disappears, but the pleasant possibilities remain, it is nicer in the country because we feel more secure through nature,” says the residential psychologist.
Trees near the house strengthen mental health
Another study by researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ), the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the University of Leipzig (UL) and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU) shows something astonishing. Street trees within 100 meters of your own home can even reduce the risk of depression. The scientists compared how often antidepressants were prescribed in certain districts of Leipzig and how many trees there are in the respective districts.
“Our study shows that everyday nature in the vicinity of the house – the biodiversity that you see when looking out the window or when you walk or drive to work, school or shopping – is just as important for the psychological Health is, ”writes Diana Bowler, the team’s data analyst, in a press release. Just as important, by which she means that simple trees are not inferior to recreational facilities such as parks in their psychological effect.
How you also make your city apartment greener
So it’s no wonder that people in suburbs with a lot of nature are mentally better off, especially in stressful times like these. But if you can’t afford a house with a garden or don’t have a balcony, there is another option: indoor plants in the apartment.
Rainforest plants that get by with little light and even temperatures are particularly suitable for the home, explains living psychologist Linke. He orients himself to the plants, which also clean the air. “To this end, NASA has carried out investigations and found that around 30 known plants filter pollutants from the air, increase the humidity and thereby improve the living environment.”
The study names, for example, ivy, aloe vera, ficus species and philodendron. Unfortunately, however, all plants that can be bought for indoors already carry a large CO2 backpack when they are grown in greenhouses or when they travel a long way. Cuttings from friends are better, says Uwe Linke: According to him, most plants are very easy to propagate.