The housing trap: how can Berlin avoid following in London’s pricey footsteps?

Though comparatively cheap next to London’s astronomical living costs, Berlin’s rental prices are rising rapidly. What does this mean for the native Berliners and ex-Londoners who rely on its reasonable housing market?
When speaking to former Londoners who have made the move to Germany’s capital, one comparison keeps cropping up: living in Berlin feels like East London did more than a decade ago, before Shoreditch was polished and Hackney became unaffordable.

Amid the steady influx of Brits moving to Berlin (the current total is nearing 14,000), there is a growing bond between these two capital cities. Foodie events by former Londoners are becoming increasingly popular in Berlin, a new LSE Cities report highlights the cities’ shared (and growing) preference for cycling and walking over car ownership and Berlin is now said to be rivalling London as Europe’s startup capital. (Continue reading here)

Spain Remains Top European Property Investment Target, Germany Second

According to Knight Frank, active investors see Spain as the top investment target in Europe, with Germany following close behind in 2015.

Knight Frank’s recent European poll showed 27% of over 150 investors identified Spain as their preferred investment target for next year, clearly indicating the strength of its recent recovery with values still well below their previous peak.

Humphrey White, Head of Capital Markets at Knight Frank Spain, comments “The fundamental rationale behind investing in Spain is even stronger than this time last year. Prime CBD office rents have risen by 20% over the past 12 months, but remain nearly 40% below the 2008 peak, and both footfall and sales have been increasing in dominant shopping centres for six consecutive quarters.”

Over a quarter (25.4%) of attendees chose Germany as their preferred target.  Results mirror the buoyant investment activity seen in the country, with a total of €30 billion invested in property during H1 2015, an increase of 35% compared to H1 2014.

Joachim von Radecke, Head of German Desk at Knight Frank in London, comments “The increase is driven by the rising flow of foreign capital into the country and the 50% increase of domestic investor activity.  Foreign investors’ share of the German market continues to grow, and now accounts for almost 60% of all transactions in H1 2015.

“We saw the usual trend towards the “big five” markets – Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg and Düsseldorf, with 78% of total office transactions recorded in these cities.”

The UK again featured strongly in this year’s poll, attracting 17.4% of the votes, on the back of the continuing recovery which has now extended to the UK regions.

Chris Bell, Managing Director of Europe at Knight Frank, comments, “The UK is well ahead of the rest of Europe in terms of the property cycle and has already seen significant yield compression.  However, it is encouraging that rental growth is beginning to re-emerge more widely across Europe, helped by the strengthening of occupier demand and the steadily falling availability of good quality space exacerbated by the lack of development over the preceding recessionary years.”

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Berlin puts the brakes on rapidly rising rent

The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9 1989 coincided with the collapse of East-German industry. The event left most of the city’s commercial buildings vacant and helped to drive down residential rent prices in the area along with it. Some 26 years later and this combination has helped transform the German capital into not only one of the trendiest cities in Europe, but one of the most tech-savvy, with many of the world’s brightest, young minds opting to create the next big thing in Berlin.
Like London and New York, Berlin is ridding itself of dilapidated urban sprawls, reinvigorating areas and helping to drive up demand, which increases the overall value of property in these cities. In fact, according to a report published by Jones Lang LaSalle earlier this year, demand for housing in the capital has grown so much that it has exceeded supply. (Continue reading here –

Scruffy Berlin Tops Munich in Offices

Until recently, lawyers and accountants seeking a prestigious German address typically found their way to the cobblestone lanes and quaint squares of central Munich. These days, they’re more likely to choose scruffy Berlin.Germany’s capital has surpassed Munich as Germany’s most popular office market as large companies expand in a city better known for its galleries and bars than its boardrooms and trading floors.

After years of high vacancies and cheap rents in Berlin, tenants signed leases for 335,000 square meters (3.6 million square feet) of space in the first half, a record for the city, according to BNP Paribas Real Estate. For the first time in decades, more space was leased in Berlin than in any other German city.

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New Buy Berlin website launched

Buy Berlin are proud to announce the launch of our new website. We hope you like the new design which amongst other things includes improved search functionality and has a mobile friendly design meaning it will look and work on all mobiles and tablets.

Please contact us with any feedback you have about our updated site


Rent rises turning investors to German property, says agency

As demand for German property shifts with more renters looking to buy, international investors are also showing more interest in the market, says a top overseas agency.

With rents in Berlin rising 9% in and low purchase options of around €100,000, there is interest from worldwide buy-to-let investment, says Property Frontiers.

“We’re experiencing a real upturn in demand from investors for property in Germany and in particular in the capital. As the Berlin market shifts its focus, international investors are seeing a new and realistic exit strategy open up before them. Combined with the stability of Germany as an investment prospect, Berlin has quickly become one of the most exciting residential property investment destinations in Europe.”

Germany – and in particular Berlin – has been a nation of renters for decades. Just 18% of the city’s residents are owner-occupiers due to the housing subsidy legacy of the old East German government, according to agent, Buy Berlin.

Across the country, ownership remains low, with only around half of Germans owning a home. The only country with a lower home ownership rate in Europe is Switzerland.

A national shift in perspective means increasing numbers of renters are becoming buyers, giving the property market a new lease of life.

Berlin2As the housing market takes on a new dynamic, buy-to-let properties like Stadtpark Steglitz, pictured,  have become increasingly appealing, with the more active market offering a realistic exit strategy says Frontiers’ Ray Withers. Studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments there start from €109,600, with gross yields of up to 5.6%.Rent rises are one of the factors behind the new German interest in buying property. According to Jones Lang LaSalle, rents in Berlin have risen from €5.50 per square metre in 2005 to €9 per square metre in 2014. From 2013 to 2014 alone, rents rose by more than 9%. While Berlin has responded by introducing a rent cap, many tenants have already had their heads turned by the prospect of property ownership.

Continuing low interest rates across Europe and Eurozone-related uncertainties have also caused many Germans to look at buying property, as they seek out the best ways to make their savings work for them in this post-Great Recession world.

Andrew Groom, of JLL, says, “We’re at the start of a re-pricing period of anywhere between two to five years. Prices in Germany have tended to be stable for long periods of time, and have then been driven by bigger macro-economic political events. We’re going through a macro-economic situation now, which is driving Germans back into bricks and mortar.”