Berlin Sees Increased Visitor Numbers

In Berlin, city statisticians have reported that the number of visitors is on the rise. The city’s top attractions reflect both history (the Holocaust and Berlin Wall memorials, for example) as well as art collections and its shabby-chic counterculture.

The 5.3 million individual visitors in the first half – up 5 percent compared to the same time last year – outnumbered the city’s population of 4.4 million.

Berlin is still not as crowded as Paris and London, but new hotels are constantly being built by investors. Full-year hotel nights are on track to hit 27 million. Just 20 years ago, the city counted a mere 7.5 million night stays per year.

Starting prices for rooms and restaurants remain moderate compared to other global destinations, making the city especially attractive to budget-minded southern Europeans, but high-end tourists can also sleep in comfort.

A luxury skyscraper hotel, Germany’s first Waldorf Astoria, opened earlier this year. The US corporate owner said its penthouse suite, which costs 12,000 euros (16,000 dollars) a night, is the highest hotel room in the mainly low-rise German capital.


New Trends In Real Estate In Europe

After the major depression in the European Union, things are finally starting to look good again. If you are an investor and are interested in purchasing land overseas, you should probably start looking at some of the European countries once again. Some of the major locations are in the technologically advanced countries like Germany and Sweden. Even countries like France are doing extremely well in terms of real estate. The problem with France, however, is that land prices are already quite high, and investing in land here will bring you returns only after a very long time.

Low Rent Options in Germany

As the country’s tourism is thriving, the income that comes in by foreign means is very high. Germany is a very viable option because of the extremely low rent value and the improvements being made to the infrastructure. Both show that the scope for areas around Berlin is very attractive to both local and international realtors at the moment.

The low rent and relatively low population in some places in Europe make great places for people to buy property that is meant for residential purposes. In Europe the positive side is that welfare benefits are high and infrastructure and technology levels are quite high. Also, due to these same improvements, commercial property value is also on the rise. In some of these places the rent drops to as low as three and a half Euros for every square metre of land.

Nations Where the Euro Zone Depression Hit the Hardest

Do not make the mistake of assuming that apartment complexes here are all of the same uniform design. There is a variety of architectural design and this makes this land more sought after. The specific location in Germany is Silicon Allee, Berlin. This area was one of the areas that was almost untouched by the Euro zone crisis.

Consider purchasing property in areas in Greece and Portugal.The fact that these countries were among the countries that were hit the hardest by the crisis, land value has dropped by about a third, which is a massive amount, especially in real estate terms. Furthermore, the value is slowly retracing back to previous values, which means that you can make large profits by capturing this opportune moment. Also, the number of technology companies that are coming into Europe add a lot of land value because they bring with them technological advancements and infrastructural benefits as well as employment.

Inflow of MNC’s and Tech Companies

With more employment opportunities, the number of people who want to live here will increase. When this happens, you will find that the government will also provide for other benefits to ensure that the growth that is being seen is sustained for a long period of time. London is a very expensive place to purchase land. Once again, like in the case of Paris, the high cost will yield benefits only after a very long time.


Germany’s GSW sees some merit in Deutsche Wohnen tie-up

German residential landlord GSW Immobilien said a proposed $2.3 billion takeover by rival Deutsche Wohnen could make sense and it will make a decision after full details are published.

Deutsche Wohnen made the all-share offer for GSW last week to expand in Berlin’s booming rental market and tap nascent interest from international investors.

The bidder plans to publish full offer documents after its extraordinary shareholder meeting scheduled for September 30, which will vote in the issue of new shares to fund the takeover.

The tie-up would increase Deutsche Wohnen’s portfolio of flats by around 63 percent to more than 147,000, pushing it into second place behind market leader Deutsche Annington with 179,000 apartments.

“A combination of GSW and Deutsche Wohnen could make sense from an operational and an industry point of view,” GSW said on Monday.

GSW, which is scrambling to rebuild its leadership after a shareholder rebellion forced out the chairman and chief executive last month, said the all-share nature of the bid required a particularly detailed assessment.

Some analysts have said Deutsche Wohnen may struggle to win GSW investors’ support for a non-cash offer.

“GSW will thoroughly analyze the bidder’s strategy and intentions, which have not yet been made public but which will need to be set out in the bidder’s offer document,” GSW said.

Deutsche Wohnen and GSW traded 0.1 percent lower at 0732 GMT. GSW has added 5.2 percent since the offer was made public, while Deutsche Wohnen has fallen 5.3 percent.

GSW said it hired Goldman Sachs , Citigroup and Dutch bank Kempen & Co to advise on the offer.

The company appointed its remaining executive board members Joerg Schwagenscheidt and Andreas Segal as co-CEOs on Friday. ($1 = 0.7493 euros)


Low Rental Locations In Germany

If you are an investor who invests in properties overseas, then you may want consider looking at German properties for rental. Some parts of Germany are quite costly in terms of land value, however, there are certain low rent locations that have been overlooked for a long time. The district of Marzahn Hellersdorf for example is a great place because of its strategic location and extremely cheap rent.

The district is situated just a little to the east of Berlin and is said to have the lowest rent rates in the city. There are many such districts where the rents are far lower than their surrounding districts, for example, Kottbusser Platz, Ahrensfelde, Hellersdorf North, and Mehrower Allee.

Cheap Rent and Good Location

On an average, the rent per square metre is about five Euros. In locations that are still well maintained and close to the main city, this rent is unbelievably low. In Mehrover Allee especially, the rent drops down to about three and a half Euros for a square meter which is the lowest rent available here. The population in such areas is rapidly increasing because of the reasonably priced land. Concrete apartment complexes make up the major part of these districts. However, it is important to note that there are many differences in the types or designs pertaining to the architecture of the locations.

This means that there are quite a few options to choose from, and it is not true that there is just a single type of apartment where everything is uniform. The differences in these buildings should technically bring up the land value, but somehow it is failing to do so for the time being. You may take advantage of this situation and invest in overseas properties in such areas where growth is promising.

Investing in land is always a safe bet, but such opportunities come rarely because of the nature of both, locations as well as the styles of the properties. Architectural diversity is not lacking in such places although the rent is unexpectedly low. Marzahn Hellersdorf is a district that is mainly aimed at residential housing and other services relating to the same. Though the population is slowly increasing, it is not overly crowded, which is a very positive thing. There are large areas dedicated to parks and gardens or even playgrounds for children.

Residential Land and it’s Future Prospects

This place is more for those who wish to settle down for a long time, which means that if you purchase land here and offer it for rental, you are likely to get a stable income out of it. Many infrastructural changes have been made to the area because of the increasing retail value. Realtors are taking a keen interest in the district and the government is striving to help the value increase in its due course.

The improvements made to the infrastructure are a bonus to those who wish to live there or you if you are planning to buy land in the area. Once the infrastructural developments are complete, the land value will shoot up, and apart from a stable income the resale value will also increase accordingly.


Berlin, The Place To Live

As far as property is concerned it’s all about location, and as far as Germany is concerned that location appears to be Berlin.

This seems to be a key factor behind Deutsche Wohnen’s takeover bid for rival German property firm GSW Immobilien Tuesday, a move to cement its position in Berlin’s dynamic housing market.

Together, the companies own around 150,000 residential units with an overall portfolio value of approximately €8.5 billion ($11.4 billion). More than 70% of the properties are located in Berlin, which Deutsche Bank analysts described as Germany’s housing-market hot spot given the capital region’s strong growth profile, with 115 people moving into the city districts each day.

According to Deutsche Wohnen, Berlin’s housing rents are set to increase by 5.2% annually over the next few years after having grown by more than 27.6% in total between 2007 and the end of 2012.

Divided until the country’s reunification in 1989, Germany’s capital for a long time saw its economic growth lag behind that of other cities, though no longer. “Berlin continues to develop much better than Germany’s overall [property] market; the strong economic development of the past four years is a special highlight,” Deutsche Wohnen Chief Executive Michael Zahn said.

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Berlin Landlord GSW Has Funds to Buy as Many as 3,000 Apartments

GSW Immobilien AG (GIB), Berlin’s biggest publicly traded residential landlord, has enough funding to buy as many as 3,000 apartments as it plans to increase earnings by adding assets.

“We have firepower of 160 million euros, which is enough to buy 2,000 to 3,000 apartments before we even have to think about a capital increase,” Chief Financial Officer Andreas Segal said by phone today. “Acquisitions are worth it — they raise our profitability.”

GSW bought 2,800 apartments in the first half after adding 7,000 last year. It now owns about 60,000 homes, mostly in the German capital, where the population is growing and rents are rising.

The number of Berlin households grew 13 percent to almost 2 million in the 10 years through 2011, according to the latest census. Berlin rents rose about 8 percent in 2012 and have gone up 26 percent in the past five years, according to online broker ImmobilienScout 24.

Segal said the 160 million euros ($213 million) that GSW has available includes an 80 million-euro credit line from Berlin-Hannoversche Hypothekenbank AG as well as access to mortgage loans.

In its earnings report today, the landlord said funds from operations excluding sales, a measure of a property company’s ability to raise cash, rose 30.4 percent in the first half to 42.5 million euros from 32.6 million euros a year earlier.

The gains were a result of more apartments and higher rents, according to the statement. The company said that its FFO will be between 73 and 78 million euros in 2013, repeating an earlier forecast. Net-rental income rose 16 percent to 91.8 million euros.


German Rent Rally Stalls in Biggest Cities After Years of Gains

Advertised rents in the German city of Hamburg fell for the first time in five years in July as lengthy rallies slowed or stopped in the country’s biggest urban areas, according to online broker Immobilien Scout GmbH.

Offered rents in the northern German city declined 0.7 percent in July from June, the first drop since June 2007, according to data compiled by the Berlin-based broker. Cologne in the west slid 0.2 percent in the first retreat since April 2012. Frankfurt and Munich declined 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent respectively, continuing a slowdown that began this year. Berlin was the only city among Germany’s five largest where rents rose.

“For the first time since we’ve been compiling the IMX Index we have identified tangible declines,” Michael Kiefer, Immobilien Scout’s head of valuations, said in a statement yesterday. The index was first compiled in March 2012. “This shows that very high rents can no longer be pushed through in large cities,” he said.

Offered rents in Berlin rose 0.4 percent in July from June, bucking the trend because rents in the German capital are still low compared with other cities, Kiefer said.

German housing costs in Germany’s largest cities have jumped in the past five years as young people move to areas where jobs are easier to find while construction fails to keep up with demand. Legislators are tightening rent regulation and politicians are promising to introduce new rules to keep rents and prices in check.

State governments in cities including Hamburg, Berlin and Munich plan to make it illegal to raise rents in certain neighborhoods by more than 15 percent over a three-year period, officials said in April. The initiative follows passage of a national law in December that makes it easier for cities that face a housing shortage to cap rents.

Offered rents in Germany’s five largest cities rose 4.4 percent in July from a year earlier, according to Immobilien Scout.


German Second-Quarter Property Prices Climb Most in a Year

German property prices rose by the most in a year in the second quarter as more residents bought homes and office investment increased amid tight supply.

Prices for houses, apartments and residential buildings climbed 4.1 percent from a year earlier, according to an index published by the VDP Association of German Pfandbrief Banks today. The office-price index rose 5.6 percent, giving both measures their best gain since the second quarter of 2012.

“Price developments in German residential property are still being determined by large cities and university towns,” Jens Tolckmitt, VDP’s general manager, said in a statement. “Rising populations and a growing number of households there are leading to continuous demand.”

Housing demand in cities such as Berlin and Frankfurt is outpacing construction as young workers move to areas where jobs are easier to find. Office prices are being pushed higher by institutions seeking a safe investment as the euro area went through a record-long recession that only ended in the last quarter.

Commercial-property investments in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, reached 12.5 billion euros ($16.6 billion) in the first half, the most since 2008, according to data compiled by London-based broker Savills Plc. (SVS)

Prices for owner-occupied apartments rose 6 percent and residential-building prices gained 4.9 percent, driven by a 4.6 percent increase in rents paid on new leases, VDP said.

VDP collects price data from mortgage contracts signed across Germany by its 38 member banks, which include Deutsche Bank AG, Commerzbank AG, Banco Santander SA (SAN) and ING Groep NV. (INGA) The data includes information from all cities, regardless of their size, in which members made loans. By comparison, other German property indexes are based on prices and rents in only the largest cities.


German economy expands by 0.7% in Q2

German economy was gaining momentum in the second quarter of 2013, with its gross domestic product increasing 0.7 percent, beating economists’ expectations, preliminary official data showed on Wednesday.

In seasonally and calendar-adjusted term, German economy between April and June expanded by 0.7 percent compared with the previous quarter, which saw a stagnation of the Europe’s largest economy, according to German Federal Statistical Office.

“Positive contributions were made mainly by domestic demand,” said the Wiesbaden-based office, adding that both private consumption and public spending were up in the second quarter.

Following a contraction in the last quarter of 2012, German economy was expected to return to its growth track this year. Domestic demands were expected to be the main growth engine, thanks to the moderate inflation, stable labor market and historically low interest rate in the euro zone. Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, expected German economy to grow by 0.3 percent in 2013, and by 1.5 percent next year.

According to provisional calculations, the GDP in the second quarter was achieved by 41.8 million persons in employment in the domestic territory, which was an increase of 242,000 persons or 0.6 percent year on year.

Investment during the second quarter also increased due to a weather-related catch-up effects following the unusually long and cold winter, said the statistical office. Net exports, too, contributed to the GDP growth.

Detailed results were scheduled to be released on August 23. The Statistical Office on Wednesday also adjusted the growth rate in the first quarter to 0.0 percent from the 0.1 percent as previously reported, following a 0.5 percent decrease of GDP in the last quarter of 2012.

GDP growth in the second quarter exceeded forecasts of economists, who had expected the economy to expanded by 0.6 percent, and boosted optimism that it would lead the euro zone out of recession sooner.

On Tuesday, Mannheim-based ZEW Centre for European Economic Research released its latest economic sentiment indicator, showing that investors in August had the strongest level of confidence since March 2013 on the outlook of German economy. Recent figures of industry production, labour market and consumer confidence were also upbeat.


Berlin Neighborhood Thrives at Edge of Old Airport

The New Tempelhof Garden City, the formal name rarely used by residents, has approximately 1,000 homes built in the 1920s on curved, tree-lined streets and small squares named for German airmen of World War I.

The houses mostly are two-story row and semi-detached residences, unusual in a city where most people live in fairly bland apartment buildings. They are brick with pastel-colored plaster and stucco facades; roofs are made of ceramic red tiles shaped like fish fins.

Since Tempelhof’s closing, the western Berlin neighborhood has become a thriving real estate micromarket in which prices have risen 50 percent or more and established property agents play a limited role in sales, according to local residents. The increase, while high for a middle-class district in the German capital, actually is not far off Berlin’s average, pushed up in recent years by dramatic increases in the value of lower-class housing. (The Jones Lang LaSalle real estate agency reported a 44 percent rise in average values of the city’s homes between mid-2009 and mid-2012.)

Sellers generally advertise Fliegerviertel homes with suggested prices on the Internet and invite sealed offers from potential buyers — often young, professional families from outside Berlin who want homes in the area.

For example,, an online site, has a post for an unrenovated 130-square-meter, or 1,399-square-foot, house offered at €439,900, or $584,400. It was built in 1920, stands in the middle of a terrace row and comes with 380 square meters of land.

Anna Winger, an American novelist and creator of the National Public Radio program “Berlin Stories,” moved with her family into Fliegerviertel in 2010. They had been living in an apartment in Charlottenburg, a relatively densely populated district also in the western part of the city.

“The proximity of a busy airfield was the neighborhood’s liability,” she said. “But this turned into a huge advantage when the airport was decommissioned and the field was turned into a park.”

Ms. Winger cites good schools, old trees and long-held local businesses as examples of the difference between living in what was West Berlin and in the former East, where almost everything in its trendy residential districts is new.

But “it’s fun to be part of regenerating a neighborhood,” said Ms. Winger, whose 2008 novel “This Must Be the Place” was set in a West Berlin building. “And Tempelhof is a neighborhood with a lot of memories. Some of our older neighbors literally caught the ‘Candy Bombers” gum as children during the 1948 air lift. Now my kids ride their bikes down those same runways. Then again, in Berlin you are always living in a monument to history, one way or the other.”

Potential buyers’ interest in Tempelhof-Schöneberg, the city borough that includes the former airfield and the Fliegerviertel, is seen as part of a widespread revival of the property market in the former West Berlin.

At its heart is the Kurfürstendamm, what was the West’s “downtown” during the Cold War and now is a handsome, wide avenue of grand cafes and generally high-end boutiques. It is in the middle of a real estate boom spurred by redevelopment around the nearby Zoologischer Garten railroad station. A project called Bikini Berlin is scheduled to open there later this year, with 54,000 square meters of retail, cinema, hotel and office space. Opposite the site, a 32-floor Waldorf Astoria hotel opened for business in January.

In Tempelhof-Schöneberg, 4,700 new homes are to be built on the fringes of the former airfield in a project called Tempelhofer Freiheit, with construction scheduled to start in 2016.

But less than two kilometers, or just more than a mile, west of the Fliegerviertel, about 1,300 people already work at the EUREF-Campus, a mix of research institutes, university lecture halls and high-tech companies clustered around a decommissioned gas tank on a 5.5-hectare, or about 14-acre, site. And it is expected that 5,000 people will be employed there when the €600 million project is completed in 2018.

Claudia Wünsch, a public relations consultant in the fashion industry who is originally from Stuttgart, bought a semi-detached house in the Fliegerviertel in 2010.

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