German home prices rose at the fastest rate in at least 10 years in the third quarter as investors bought apartment buildings at a time when low interest rates make other investments less attractive.
Values climbed 5.2 percent from a year earlier, with multifamily houses gaining 7.2 percent, according to an index published today by the VDP Association of German Pfandbrief Banks. Prices for owner-occupied condominiums gained 2.6 percent as momentum in that market slowed following bigger gains in the previous three years.
Apartment buildings “continue to be sought after by institutional and private investors alike,” said Jens Tolckmitt, VDP’s chief executive officer. “The very low interest rate and the resulting search for attractive yields on investment support this trend.”
Investors are drawn to Germany’s reliable rental income and potential for further property-price gains at a time when fixed-income markets offer low yields. Low interest rates also make it cheap for buyers to take out mortgages.
Rents on new leases in apartment buildings rose 4.6 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, VDP said.
Listed residential landlords, such as Deutsche Annington Immobilien SE and Deutsche Wohnen AG, have benefited as shareholders bought the most property stocks ever this year, according to data compiled by research firm Barkow Consulting GmbH. German property companies have sold a record 4.1 billion euros ($5.1 billion) of shares this year, 15 percent more than in all of 2013, the firm said.
The FTSE EPRA/Nareit index of German property stocks has climbed about 25 percent this year, compared with a decline of about 3.5 percent on the benchmark DAX Index. (DAX) Deutsche Annington, Germany’s biggest listed landlord, has gained 39 percent this year in Frankfurt trading.
Investors seeking stable returns are also buying office properties. Office values climbed by 3.7 percent in the third quarter, while office rents rose 1.8 percent, according to VDP. Commercial properties are attracting professional investors with large cash reserves, including pension funds and sovereign-wealth funds.
Buyers acquired 25.5 billion euros of commercial properties in Germany in the first nine months, the most since 2007, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL)
VDP collects price data from mortgage contracts signed across Germany by more than 30 member banks, which include Deutsche Bank AG, Commerzbank AG, Banco Santander SA (SAN) and ING Groep NV. (INGA)