The cost of real estate in Germany – particularly in the country’s major cities – has become more than many people can afford in recent years, with no signs of this trend reversing any time soon. This is where the Wohntraum project, the brainchild of our employees Helge Baur, Carsten Kobbe-Dunker, Maximilian Fecher and Vanessa Krebs, comes into play. Wohntraum emerged as the winning project as part of an in-house innovation campaign that Baloise launched last March.
The dream of a home to call your own
If we take a look at home ownership rates in Europe, Germany comes in second-bottom of the league. In virtually all other countries in Europe, buying or taking out a mortgage for a flat or a house is more the rule than the exception, according to recent figures released by the statistics provider Eurostat.
Lack of equity proves a challenge
Younger people, in particular, often find that owning a home in Germany is out of their financial reach. The majority of today’s 30- to 45-year-olds cannot manage to raise the capital they need to buy a flat or house without help from their family. “The main thing the younger generation is missing is the equity needed as a basis for financing a property. This is something we want to counteract with Wohntraum,” says Helge Baur, Strategy & Sustainability manager in the Transformation division at Baloise.
So how does Wohntraum work?
“Put in very simplified terms, Wohntraum allows young families to move into the property today that they can only actually finance tomorrow. At the same time, the families gradually acquire ownership of the flat or house by paying a use fee for the portion of the property that they do not own,” Helge Baur continues. To tackle the challenge associated with the required equity, the idea is to give people support from financial intermediaries and also a guarantee that they will eventually be able to make the property entirely their own.
From the RedBox to the GoldBox
The Wohntraum team started their journey with their supported home ownership idea as part of the “Home” Kickbox campaign back in March 2021. After successfully making it through the RedBox and BlueBox phases, Helge, Carsten, Maximilian and Vanessa were awarded the GoldBox in December, along with seed capital of EUR 300,000. The team is now working on a spin-off for the business idea, similar to Parcandi, which was successfully spun off in the Mobility ecosystem last year. The services offered by Wohntraum will initially focus on Germany.