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Prices

Background

The continuous observation and analysis of price stability is based on surveys of prices. Particular attention is paid to the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) and the national Consumer Price Index (CPI), which are calculated by the Federal Statistical Office and used as measures of consumer price movements. Producer prices of agricultural and commercial products are used as leading indicators at the upstream stages of production.

Depending on the indicator, seasonally and calendar-adjusted or just calendar-adjusted time series are provided in addition to the unadjusted figures. The adjusted data are estimated using version 0.2.8 of the Census X-12-ARIMA program.

Real-time data are available for selected indicators. Further information on methodology is likewise available.

Consumer price indices for Germany

The consumer price indices calculated every month by the Federal Statistical Office measure the average change in the price of all goods and services that are bought or used by households for consumption purposes for the respective reporting period compared with the base year. A distinction should be made between the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) for Germany, which is calculated according to EU-wide harmonised criteria, and Germany's national consumer price index (CPI). 

The HICP for Germany counts towards the calculation of the HICP for the EU and for the euro area, which are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU. The year-on-year percentage change in the HICP (the inflation rate) is the statistical base the Eurosystem uses for the assessment of price  stability. 

Consumer price indices are often used to calculate what historical amounts of money and currencies that were once used in Germany would be worth today. Long time series are available for the CPI. These purchasing power equivalents, as they are known, can give us an idea of what goods and services a certain amount of money from history would buy in today's money. Click on the link on the right to visit a separate page providing further information on the relative purchasing power of historical currencies and a number of illustrative calculations. 

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Price indices for imports and exports

The price indices for imports and exports of goods are compiled monthly by the Federal Statistical Office. They show the development of the prices of all goods that are traded between Germany and other countries. The results are formally presented as Laspeyres price indices: they represent price measures weighted with their share in the foreign trade statistics in the base year.

Price indices for the construction sector

Indices of construction work prices show the development of prices for conventionally manufactured new buildings in selected civil engineering construction styles, as well as for maintenance work undertaken on residential buildings compared with the base year. The Federal Statistical Office publishes the construction price index components, which are consolidated by the Bundesbank, quarterly. The indices are based on surveys of the prices for 186 selected construction services at a representative selection of around 5,000 construction companies.

Producer prices of industrial goods

The producer price index, which is calculated every month by the Federal Statistical Office, measures the average change in the price of industrial and commercial goods produced and sold domestically (excluding turnover tax) for the respective reporting period compared with the base year. Currently, 1,250 types of goods are used to calculate the index. Their prices are reported by a total of 5,000 enterprises under fixed contractual conditions.

Residential property prices

In Germany, the past few years have seen a marked expansion in the availability of price indices for residential real estate. The available index series show a quite different progression in some cases, however. One of the reasons for this is that none of the indices so far fulfils the criterion of being completely representative. Such deviations are also due to differences in the way the data are collected and processed. The data of bulwiengesa AG are largely based on expert assessments to determine the value of typical properties in the categories of new and existing owner-occupied apartments, terraced houses as well as re-occupied single-family detached homes. The Association of German Pfandbrief Banks (Verband deutscher Pfandbriefbanken, vdp) publishes quarterly property price indices for single-family and two-family houses and for owner-occupied apartments. The Destatis house price index tracks the prices of residential real estate where the dwelling including the land is sold as a “complete package”, irrespective of the seller and intended use. The house price index is thus not confined to owner-occupied residential real estate, but also incorporates the prices of rental property.

Commercial property prices

Given a lack of public data for commercial property, price analysis has to rely on data from private information services. In this connection, the annual German Property Index (GPI) for commercial properties in 127 towns and cities published by bulwiengesa AG should be mentioned as one source of data. Second, the Association of German Pfandbrief Banks has been publishing a quarterly price index for office buildings, a quarterly price index for rental housing and, since 2014, a quarterly price index for retail buildings.