The city of Hamburg has advertised the refugee housing as a potential guesthouse, workshop, playhouse or yoga studio. While buyers might think they’ve scored a bargain, transportation costs could come as a surprise.
The northern German city of Hamburg has listed 50 former refugee houses on eBay classifieds for €1,000 ($1,140) a pop, according to a report by daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The city purchased the temporary wooden houses in 2015 at the height of the European migrant crisis, but they are no longer needed.
The structures received overwhelming interest and the ad was taken down on Thursday afternoon, just 48 hours after it went up.
“The response on the first day was enormous, we had around 100 inquiries,” said Daniel Posselt, spokesman for the Central Coordination Unit for Refugees. “There was interest from all over Germany.”
The advertisement said the 28-square-meter (301-square-foot) wooden buildings could be used as a guesthouse, workshop, sports and play house or yoga studio. The original price of the tiny homes when they were built was €23,000 per unit.
“All interested parties will receive an answer, but that can take some time,” the authority tweeted.
Hefty transport cost
The three-year-old houses were part of a housing facility in the Jenfelder Moorpark, but Hamburg’s refugee arrivals have dropped from more than 10,000 per month in 2015 to about 400, meaning the accommodation is no longer needed.
They are weather and winter-proof with the usual signs of wear, but are well insulated and equipped with heating, a hot water supply and electricity. “This is not at all a shack,” Posselt said.
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While the minimum bid for a house was €1,000, the sale came with two requirements: Buyers were required to have a building permit ,and the structures were pick-up only.
Moving the wooden buildings requires a heavy load transporter with a large crane. Transport within Hamburg is estimated to cost between €3,000 to €5,000, Posselt said.
“That will put off many private individuals who want a nicer garden house,” he added.
Among the interested parties is one church parish, which is interested in taking 20 of the houses and continuing to use them to accommodate refugees. Meanwhile, a company is considering buying 10 for its construction workers.
Social worker Stephan Karrenbauer from street magazine Hinz und Kunzt said he hopes people without a permanent address could also be accommodated in the houses.
“If they give us the space we need, we could immediately put homeless people in the wooden houses,” Karrenbauer said.
According to Karrenbauer, the costs of buying and erecting 10 houses can certainly be found. “People in Hamburg who own an unused hall they can provide for this purpose are welcome to contact me.”