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Berlin’s housing market has tightened considerably in recent years as newcomers from elsewhere in Germany, Europe and beyond have flocked to the German capital. As a result of the influx, rents across much of Berlin have doubled over the past decade and are rising faster than in any other German city, far outpacing income growth.

Investors and most economists warn that proposed rent controls will only worsen the crisis by stifling investment in new construction and fueling a black market for flats.

Those arguments have largely fallen on deaf ears, however. For many locals, “investor” is a four-letter word. Giving capitalists more influence would be tantamount to treason.

A local initiative recently collected nearly 80,000 signatures supporting the expropriation of apartments owned by large corporate landlords, a step Berlin’s government — a coalition of the Social Democrats, the Left and the Greens — is now considering.

Looks like Berlin may move past socialism to communism.
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