German property enjoys a boom

From century-old villas in Berlin’s exclusive Grunewald district to trendy penthouse apartments in Munich, Germany is fast becoming one of Europe’s most attractive luxury property markets.

With competitive prices compared to the hot spots of London, Paris or Moscow, investors – including Arab buyers – are flocking to the country.

“The German market is benefiting from the strong economy, low interest rates and a low number of completions, which has made supply scarce,” says Tobias Just, a property analyst at Deutsche Bank who expects average residential prices to rise by up to 2 per cent this year in major cities. “For security-oriented investors, Germany is very attractive because it is less volatile.” (more)

Free Google initiative aims to get small businesses online

Small and medium-sized businesses make up the backbone of Germany’s economy, but few are active online. An initiative led by search engine Google hopes to change this by offering free educational events and online tutorials on building websites.

“Online Motor Deutschland” hopes to make getting online more palatable for the Mittelstand, Google Germany manager Stefan Tweraser said on Thursday in Berlin.

“We believe that the economic motor of small and medium-sized businesses can also be the internet motor in Germany,” he said.

This year, the initiative will tour the country’s 10 largest cities to meet with business owners about getting online. Participants at the big tent events will receive coupons for online services worth €1,000, including 12 months of free website hosting on Strato, and advertising worth €100 with Google, the company said. (more)

FUND VIEW-Aviva Investors chases German property in 2011

LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) – British insurer Aviva Plc’s asset management arm said German cities are its top pick for investment in prime-grade commercial property in 2011, citing the euro zone dynamo’s low interest rates and debt availability.

Aviva Investors has several pan-European and Germany-focused funds that would have ‘purchasing capacity’ in Germany in 2011 and were by no means fully invested, investment strategy and research director David Skinner said.

He declined to state what the budget for core property buys would be but said they would tend to be focused on cities in southern Germany, plus Berlin and Hamburg.

Aviva Investors, which has 22 billion pounds ($35.5 billion) of real estate funds under management, declined to name the funds that would be investing, citing private placement rules.(more)

German homes and hotels prove to be a good bet

Germany’s residential sector is booming according to a new survey from BulwiendaGesa and WGF. New construction projects are appearing all the time says the survey as the country’s economy continues to recover and its unemployment rate improves. In the residential segment, the highest rent increases for 2010 occurred in Berlin at 6% up year-on-years. Hamburg and Munich both saw rents rise 5% and Düsseldorf experienced a 3% increase. The investment volume of residential portfolio sales increased from €3.3bn in 2009 to €3.8bn in 2010. Hotel properties are doing particularly well as the number of tourist and business travellers increases. Occupancy rates are up and, in 2010, the transaction volume in the hotel industry nearly doubled from the previous year to reach €800m.(more)


Germany in Eurozone benefits from consistent surpluses greater than China in proportion to GDP

Germany is in a position to secure for its economy consistent trade surpluses, greater even than those of China in proportion to GDP (gross domestic product), without the limitations of a compensatory mechanism working through currency appreciation, according to Domenico Lombardi, an economist at the Washington DC think-tank, the Brookings Institution. (more)

BMW posts record 2010 results, stronger Chinese ties

FRANKFURT — Record results by luxury automaker BMW highlighted the power of the German export machine Thursday as China emerged as the country’s biggest market in place of traditional   partner the United States.

BMW posted record revenues and net profit for 2010, in part owing to an 85.3 percent jump in sales to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan while Germany as a whole saw total exports soared 24.2 percent in January.

Germany is the world’s second biggest exporter, recently overtaken by the now global powerhouse China.

Europe’s Top City Locations

Pinning down the ideal city to live, work or invest in is an arduous process with innumerable variables. The Wall Street Journal Europe offers a brief guide.

Finding the optimal city to live in and work from is not an easy process. It might be that the best city in which to locate a business, is also the worst for getting to work. Transport links might be of an exceptionally high standard in another location, but if house prices are too high or the business district over-priced then the fact that the trains run on time counts for nothing.  MORE

Upbeat Berlin sees brighter growth outlook

The German government is set to raise its growth forecast to about 2.25 per cent for this year and to predict a rise of about 2 per cent in 2012 as private consumption continues to complement export-led growth.
Government officials hope the trend will ease international criticism of Germany’s trade surplus, and open the possibility of bringing this year’s budget deficit below 3 per cent of gross domestic product, a vital marker in the eurozone.     Read More

For all your German property investment needs visit buyberlin

Berlin Philharmonic: the world’s best orchestra

Curling up like a wisp of smoke before a blaze, violinist Guy Braunstein marked the arrival of the Berlin Philharmonic in London with a ghostly rustle as the tip of his bow oscillated across a single string. Only a dog or those under 16 could hope to hear anything softer. One by one three other Berliner string principals joined in, each with a two-bar semiquaver skitter before soaring, full strength, into Schubert’s “Quartettsatz”, a single movement of a quartet which in the composer’s short life was never completed. Berlin Philharmonic: the world’s best orchestra | Music | The Observer

German unemployment rate drops slightly in February

A man working on a car on an assembly lineThe unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent in February, with 33,000 fewer Germans out of work. The German economy continues to boom, with steady demand for German products abroad as well as domestically.

Surprising analysts, the German unemployment rate dropped somewhat in February. Some 33,000 fewer people were without work, putting the unadjusted total of unemployed at 3.3 million. The unadjusted unemployment rate – the one used in public debate – fell to 7.9 percent from 8.0 percent in January. (more)