Start for residential riestern verbraucherzentrale nrw warns against hasty conclusion of contract

Construction financing: the so-called Wohn-Riester has started. But the consumer center NRW advises: House builders should wait for better offers.

The legislator has given Riester savings a new variant in the form of home ownership subsidies. Now not only bank, fund and insurance savings plans are subsidized, but also building savings contracts and real estate loans.


The prerequisite for the "Wohn-Riester" is that an owner-occupied property is financed which was acquired or completed after 31 December 2007. The home must have been purchased or completed by December 2007. It is not possible to switch to riester-subsidized follow-up financing when financing a property that has already been purchased for some time.

When it comes to owner-occupancy, the state applies strict criteria: If the house or apartment is sold and a new owner-occupied property is not purchased within four years, the subsidies and tax benefits received must be repaid.

Riester savers can only avoid repayment if they pay the subsidized repayments into a conventional Riester contract, such as a bank savings plan, after selling their home. In the event of a move for professional reasons, the apartment may be rented out temporarily, but only with a fixed-term rental agreement.

Taxation in retirement

Taxes are due at retirement age for Riester pension plans. Because there is no pension payout in the case of a residential Riester, a fictitious payout balance is taxable. The subsidized repayments are collected in a housing subsidy account and earn interest at an annual rate of two percent. The fictitious account balance in the subsidy account must either be paid in by the 85th birthday of the beneficiary or be taxable. The loan can be paid off in equal installments or in the form of a down payment before the age of 60.

Despite the taxation at retirement age, the "Wohn-Riestern" is a worthwhile consideration for home builders, provided that the self-use of the home is planned for the long term. Two basic variants are possible: The Riester home savings contract and direct repayment in the Riester loan. In addition, payments into so-called combination loans, a financing mix of building savings contract and bridging loan, are also subsidized.

First home savings tariffs on the market

First home savings plans are already on the market. Even during the savings phase, building savers can collect a Riester allowance if the contract is later used to finance the purchase of their own home. However, without a state subsidy, the return is rather meager.

Bausparkasse Schwäbisch Hall offers a one percent interest rate on credit balances and collects one percent of the building savings sum as a signing fee. At LBS West, there is only 0.75 percent annual interest rate with the same closing fee; in addition, LBS charges annual account management fees of 18 euros.

Advice from the expert

Financial expert Thomas Bieler of the consumer center North Rhine-Westphalia guesses therefore to the composure. "In the near future, more Wohn-Riester offers are likely to come onto the market. Who waits with the conclusion still, can be at the end the winner."In addition, the conclusion of a Riester home loan and savings contract because of the contractual meager yield is usually only meaningful if the favorable home loan and savings loan is subsequently called.

The alternative is the direct repayment of a mortgage loan with Riester subsidies. However, only repayment portions are subsidized, interest remains unsubsidized. However, the banks are currently still holding back with offers, so that a comparison between conventional bank loans and Riester loans is not yet possible.

Examples of allowances

Here, too, the amount of the allowance depends on how much the financing customer repays each year and on his income and family situation. Examples: A family with two children, one of whom was born in 2008, can save nearly 8.Collect 000 euros in allowances. In contrast, for couples without children, the sum of allowances in the same period is only 3.080 euros.

When it comes to subsidized construction loans, the key will be whether they can keep up with low-cost traditional mortgages when it comes to interest rates. If a Riester bank loan is significantly more expensive than a regular loan, it may make sense for the builder to choose the lower-interest loan and make provisions with a traditional Riester savings contract.

"Otherwise, the Riester subsidy may be eaten up by the interest rate disadvantage," Bieler points out. Only if Riester loans offered attractive terms, even without taking government subsidies into account, would it be worthwhile to take out a residential Riester loan agreement.

Be careful with combination loans

Be careful, however, especially with the combination loans announced by the building societies for this year. This is because they are regularly significantly more expensive than comparable mortgage loans, he said. "Price clarity brings here only the look at the total effective interest rate of the combination offers. And, fortunately, the legislature has mandated that savings and loan associations provide this information," says consumer advocate Bieler.

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