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For Germany’s students, the first of October marked the start of the 2017 winter semester. And for first-year students in particular, this is supposed to be an exciting new beginning; the moment they finally embark on the first stage of their journey into adult life. Unfortunately, rather than representing the start of a new adventure, for many the reality has been quite different, and stressful – all thanks to the …

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How will new technologies change the German real estate landscape? What impact are new, primarily digital, technologies already having? If you’ve ever asked yourself these, or similar, questions, then a new study, “Smart, Smarter, Real Estate”, which has just been published by EY Real Estate and ZIA certainly makes for interesting reading. We’ve put together a summary of the study’s key findings, so read on to see how digitalisation within …

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On September 24, 2017: Germany decides   With the last Sunday in September fast approaching and election campaigning reaching fever pitch, Germany’s political parties are busily jockeying for position. It seems highly likely that Angela Merkel will continue as Chancellor, but another coalition government is definitely on the cards. Will the current Grand Coalition of Union (CDU/CSU) and SPD receive a new mandate, or will the FDP win enough votes …

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Union Investment and the German Tech Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC) have just crowned the most innovative PropTech companies in the world. The competition received more than 200 entrants from 46 countries, and the biggest winners are start-ups in the German capital, Berlin. The PropTech Innovation Award was initiated by Union Investment and the German Tech Entrepreneurship Center (GTEC) as a way to celebrate, nurture and reward the most groundbreaking property technology …

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The Mietpreisbremse – literally the rental price brake – was introduced in Berlin in June 2015. Politicians hoped that the legislation would slow the rate at which rents were rising by limiting property owners’ freedoms to raise rents. In actual fact, rents are now generally increasing faster than ever.   According to a recent study from the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW), rents for apartments in Germany’s major cities are now rising …

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For anyone interested in the German real estate market, Spring is a key time of year. A flood of major surveys, reports and market studies are released every year in February, March and April – with a raft of data, information and forecasts all related to the German real estate market. So, if you want to gain a better understanding of market developments in Germany, now is the time. Read …

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Berlin hotel market – More than just a room for the night?   The Berlin hotel market is booming. A total of 12.7 million tourists visited Berlin last year, up from 12.3 million in 2015 and a massive jump from the 3.2 million visitors the German capital welcomed in 1996. The number of overnight stays in the city exceeded 31 million for the first time in 2016, equivalent to a …

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For English-speakers, looking for an apartment to rent or buy in Germany involves a steep learning curve. Both size and fixtures are important. And there are lots of new terms and abbreviations to get to grips with, along with a host of cultural differences. There’s new vocabulary to learn (EBK is a fitted kitchen, BW is a bathtub, KM is cold rent, i.e. excluding heating and warm water, etc.), and measurement in …

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International buyers, especially in a major city like Berlin, are a significant group of potential customers. Many real estate agents and property consultants specifically target international buyers, particularly at the top end of the market, and their businesses are booming as a result. Foreigners now account for almost 30% of high-end property sales in Berlin, and in some market segments this rises to 70%, compared with just 10% a decade …

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Too much regulation, too much red tape, too few incentives for developers and investors – Germany’s real estate industry seems to be up in arms on an almost weekly basis. Milieuschutz, Mietpreisbremse, Zweckentfremdungsverbot, European real estate credit agreement directives, Bestellerprinzip…the list goes on and on. Given the uproar with every market intervention proposed by attention-seeking (and vote-seeking) politicians across the political spectrum, we thought it might be interesting to discover whether …

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The end of traditional, brick and mortar retail has regularly been proclaimed. The seemingly unstoppable juggernaut of online retail, more convenient than ever since the advent of smartphones, tablets and the internet of things, is supposedly driving the last few nails into the coffin of our cities’ shopping streets, malls and out-of-town retail parks. Oliver Samwer, serial eCommerce entrepreneur and co-founder of Rocket Internet, even claimed: “Shops are medieval. People …

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Suburban flight has become a big deal in Germany over the last few weeks. A comprehensive new study has just been published, the Postbank Housing Atlas 2016. The study presents a range of findings, including details of the link between city-centre housing prices and the number of workers commuting into and out of a city. Postbank identifies Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart as the German cities with the highest numbers of workers who …

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On 24 June 2016, the world woke to the shock result of the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum. Turnout was historically high, at 71.8%, and more than 30 million people voted. At 52% – 48% in favour of leaving the European Union, the Brexit majority is far too slim to create any long-lasting stability. A range of forecasts in the run-up to the referendum attempted to predict the fallout of a …

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Germans refer to it as “Barrierefreiheit” and English-speakers tend to describe it as either “accessible” or “universal/inclusive design” (rather than barrier-free). Originally developed to promote the development of buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to people with disabilities, the whole idea of “accessible” has since broadened to also include older people and people without disabilities. The term is used to refer to everything from wheelchair ramps and buses that “kneel” …

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Small apartments with one room, centrally situated and, of course, affordable – that shouldn’t be too much to ask for, should it? Unfortunately, what have traditionally been marketed as student apartments are now in demand among other groups, such as single-person households and young professionals, which is pushing up both rents and prices. Strong competition between students, commuters, young professionals and retirees Student numbers up by 40 percent in …

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The Mietpreisbremse is coming under increasingly heavy fire. Originally designed to put a brake on rampant rental increases, restricting rents to a maximum of 10% above local benchmarks, the legislation was introduced last summer and immediately met with a mixture of protest and disbelief (from those within in the residential real estate industry), doubt (from those who predicted that this would be a toothless tiger) and warm acceptance (from those …

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Whichever way you look at it, the number of new apartments being built in Germany is staggering. Does this mean that the shortage of housing in Germany’s major cities will soon be a thing of the past, or that prices and rents are about to fall? The truth lies somewhere beyond the headline figures. Housing: Construction Boom The cityscapes of Germany’s biggest cities are not defined by the kinds of skyscrapers …

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When you think of a road map, it’s quite likely that the first thing that springs to mind will either be a street atlas or the plan developed by stakeholders in the Israel-Palestine peace process. The term “road map” now means more than just a plan of streets and highways. In a world of digital, online maps and satellite navigation equipment, the term road map has come to be used …

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Forecasts of a property bubble began appearing in the mainstream German press in 2014. At first it was just well-known doom-mongers and pessimists. Then stories either predicting a bubble, or claiming that we were already in one, started to multiply. By the middle of last year, the number of headlines containing the words “property bubble” (Immobilienblase) had reached record levels. It looks like a bubble has developed – regarding the …

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Sustainable buildings are being built and leased in greater and greater numbers. According to the latest “Certification and Sustainability Radar” (“CESAR”) report published by JLL, there has been a one million square metre (or 21%) increase in the volume of certified office space in sustainable buildings in Germany’s big seven office centres (Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Cologne). JLL uses the term “certified” for office properties that are certified, …

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Energiewende (the name given to Germany’s energy transition) has become the latest German word to enter the English language. There are a host of reasons for languages to “loan” words to one another: to plug a specific lexical gap; to convey a concept that originated in one language and has since become relevant to a wider audience; to retain an association with the birthplace of an idea or innovation, or …

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Demands to provide a boost to municipal housing in Germany are growing ever louder. This has a lot to do with the shortage of affordable rental apartments in many of the country’s cities, combined with the impact of the current refugee crisis that Europe as a whole is struggling to get to grips with. And yet, simply building more municipal housing is not quite as straightforward as you might think. …

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Berlin’s Smart City roadmap and the projects that will secure a carbon neutral future  From the home to the streets How smart is a Smart City Germany has 3 of the Top Ten “Innovation Cities” in Europe The smart journey so far Where next for Berlin?   What began with the concept of the smart home (programmable, self-learning and networked home appliances and systems), then embraced the idea of smart …

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German Federal Government’s Climate Protection Plan 2050 and the real estate industry Climate protection plan should not be allowed to endanger economic viability Tighter construction standards defeat the aim of building affordable housing Newest catalogue of measures makes property a less secure long-term investment In Paris towards the end of 2015, Germany joined 194 other countries in committing itself to achieving greenhouse gas neutrality by 2015 and doing everything in its power …

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The focus of this blog is normally on Real Estate, which is admittedly a fairly broad focus ranging from different real estate asset classes to examining market trends, from legislative changes to social and economic developments. For this post though, we’re going to take a bit of an excursion and explore a more political topic: Brexit. As with any major political issue, the ramifications of the UK population potentially voting …

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We’re well into February and there has been a recent rush of facts and figures arriving as a flood of studies and reports are released to provide analyses of an almost infinite array of statistics on the German real estate markets in 2015. We’ve covered a number of these developments in this blog before, but thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the key facts and figures relating …

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Housing construction has become such a hot topic in Germany that it has broken out of the dedicated property sections of the country’s major daily newspapers and is now making front-page headlines and being discussed on the comfy sofas of mainstream current affairs programmes. Let’s take a look at some of the facts that everyone seems to agree on, and examine how many of the problems currently putting a brake …

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Legal changes are on their way, both due to new laws being enacted and reforms to existing laws. It is important that anyone affected has sufficient time to come to terms with the new legal landscape and can make any necessary changes to their business practices. Read on to find out about some of the key legal changes that are set to have an impact on the German real estate industry this year including changes for: estate …

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Proptech is the umbrella term used to classify the property-related technologies, whether hardware or software, designed to serve landlords, property managers, portfolio owners and tenants. It’s a sure fire bet that technology will have a considerable impact on the way real estate professionals work in 2016.  Read on to find out about some of the key functions Proptech is already delivering and our predictions of what it could deliver in the near …

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 The supply of housing (or, more appropriately, lack of supply) has been making headlines in both Germany and the UK this autumn. Property prices and rents seem to be increasing everywhere you look, and demand has been outstripping supply for some time. Well, now there is some good news, at least as far as Germany’s capital is concerned.   Housing: the good news There is a clear increase in housing …

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EnEV, Germany’s Energy Saving Ordinance, is something that everyone in Germany’s real estate industry is familiar with. After all, around 25% of the country’s carbon emissions come from residential and office buildings. For non-German speakers it’s not always easy to understand the Energy Saving Ordinance, which is why we’ve put together an outline of how these important regulations have evolved over the years and an insight into what changes are on their …

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Project development – tax breaks planned Project development is crucial if Germany is to get to grips with its housing crisis. There  was a very interesting article in Spiegel Online on 26.11.2015 outlining plans being floated by Germany’s coalition government, namely via the CDU’s “iron-fisted” finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, to help relieve the pressures on housing in many of the country’s major cities. Read on to find out what the coalition …

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Urban development is back on the agenda in a big way in Germany. Faced with a shortage of affordable housing, a lack of accommodation for large numbers of refugees arriving this year (and set to arrive next year) and a rise in the number of individual households, it’s clear that there is a desperate need for new residential real estate. The way people work and shop is also changing, and …

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 The new Bundesmeldegesetz (Federal Citizens’ Registration Act) came into force on 01.11.2015 and it looks like many of Germany’s tenants and landlords are not quite up-to-speed on their obligations under this new piece of legislation. German lawmakers seem to be among the most effective in the world at increasing red tape and adding to the burden of both the country’s businesses and ordinary citizens—and this is no exception. Read on …

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 Why are there so few skyscrapers in Berlin? When you think of cities with magnificent, impressive or breathtaking skylines, Berlin is not going to be one of the first cities to spring to mind. In fact, it’s probably not going to feature anywhere on your list because, despite all of the things the city does very well, skyscrapers are not really a feature of the city’s built environment. Sure, there …

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Observing the impact of the refugee crisis on Germany’s housing market over the last few days has certainly been interesting. Alongside the usual studies, reports and comment pieces on the continual onward march of rents and property prices (both still rising, although not to the same extent as recent months/years), the shortage of affordable housing, increases in the number of pipeline projects and building permits issued, etc., there have been …

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Germany may have Europe’s biggest economy and the EU’s largest population, but as far as the country’s listed real estate sector is concerned things have only recently begun to get really interesting. This week, on 21.09.2015, Vonovia (formerly Deutsche Annington) became the first listed real estate company to be promoted to the blue-chip DAX index. How has the sector reacted? What does this signal for Vonovia’s competitors? Is this the beginning …

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There has been considerable hype recently in connection with what is being marketed as a revolutionary new source of funding for real estate projects — crowdfunding. Who are the companies that have entered the market, what’s in it for investors and developers, and how does crowd investment compare with more traditional forms of real estate investment?   You’ve got to be in it to win it One major hurdle for …

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What does it say about our views of the world when British english speakers talk about “bricks and mortar” when referring to housing and other buildings, whereas their German counterparts are more likely to talk about Betongold (literally, “concrete gold)? How do these two differing views, one highlighting unspectacular solidity and functionality, the other highlighting the value of property as a secure investment, match up with the real world? After …

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Bestellerprinzip and Mietpreisbremse: Germany’s tenancy law reforms, the Grand Coalition’s Mietrechtsnovellierungsgesetz (MietNovG), came into force on 01.06.2015 and brought a number of major changes, and a major dose of uncertainty, with them. We’ve already looked at one of the biggest reforms, the Mietpreisbremse, which has given local authorities the power to impose rental controls in neighbourhoods with “overheated” housing markets. The second major reform, and one that is starting to …

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Berlin real estate – a planned economy   Anyone who has ever read any reports on Germany’s property markets will know that the real estate economy in the country is broken down into a number of sub-sectors, both in terms of geography and property types. Given the country’s federal structure, with 16 individual states and city states, there is not a single, dominant property market in the way that …

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As far as housing is concerned, and as mentioned in a previous blog post, Germany can be seen pretty much as a nation of tenants rather than owner-occupiers. In major cities such as Berlin and Munich, between 75-85% of the population currently live in rented apartments, which means that only 15-25% are homeowners—extremely low figures when compared to the situation in other European countries. Similar, but different Why do such …

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Mietminderung (the right to withhold all or part of your monthly rent payment) was one of the first words that sprang to mind as I read this article, part of the Guardian’s series on “Generation Rent,” on my way to work this morning.   High rents + poor housing = frustration   It seems that lots of tenants are not only complaining about the high cost of renting an apartment …

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Grunderwerbsteuer  is Germany’s tax on the transfer of real property (equivalent to stamp duty in the UK). Whether you are a developer buying land earmarked for construction, a potential owner-occupier considering a condominium or an investor on the market for a property portfolio, all transactions involving land and property will be subject to Grunderwerbsteuer. Read on to find out more about the tax, how it is levied and how to reduce the amount …

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Anyone who has taken a stroll along Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm will have come across a number of landmark buildings, both old and new (and often a combination of the two). From the Filmbühne Wien, now home to Apple’s flagship Berlin store, to the Mendelsohn Building at Lehniner Platz, home to the Schaubühne Theatre, with hundreds of the city’s characteristic, pre-1918 Altbaus in between. One such striking building is Haus Cumberland, at …

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Everyone knows it: Berlin is “in”, tolerant, affordable—and growing. Monocle magazine just ranked the city as the third most “liveable” city in the world, citing the openness of the German capital’s population, the interesting mix of independent and high-street shops, lively and varied nightlife, low crime rate, expansive green spaces, conducive business environment and (relatively) affordable housing.   Where to look Finding an apartment to rent or buy in Berlin …

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Milieuschutz—necessary intervention or a step too far? In this third article on the German housing market, we’re moving on to the third currently hot “M” in the German residential real estate industry – Milieuschutz. Unlike the Mietpreisbremse (a product of Germany’s current coalition government), protecting the character, identity and social mix of a neighbourhood via Milieuschutz goes back more than 40 years to the early 1970s.   Restricting the market …

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Mietpreisbremse—putting the brakes on In this second article on the German housing market, we’re going to examine the recent Mietpreisbremse (rental control/cap, literally “rental brake”) legislation and see how it ties in with the Mietspiegel from part one. If you are an investor, landlord or tenant in one of Germany’s major cities, you are probably going to feel the impact of this new law sooner, rather than later. As …

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The Mietspiegel—A funhouse mirror? There is a great deal of interest in Germany’s housing markets from overseas’ investors and there are a large number of non-German speakers living in the country, particularly in major cities such as Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg. Germans have a long-standing preference for living in rented apartments rather than buying property—although this might change slightly thanks to low interest rates and steadily increasing rents. In …

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