Property In Germany

Germany is not only booming economically, but the real estate market is following suit and now offers strong potential for early investors


Property in Germany

Property in Germany has never been better, residential is on fire and even commercial property has areas of wonderment, or should that be Wunderment.

People have been hyping about the German buy to let sector for almost 3 decades. Hundreds of Brits have owned property in Berlin since the 80s long before overseas property investment became easy or chic. But the predicted boom never came. That is until the global financial crisis made stability and safety much more important than growth, ironically the popularity caused by the stability of slow growth brought a new level of growth in the German property market.

Residential property in Germany is by far the biggest investment opportunity, because of the high percentage of the population who rent their home. However, when the economy grows strongly the industrial sector is also strong because of the massive export sector, and the office sector also benefits as a result of that. The retail sector has also seen a lot of growth recently due to the exceptionally strong growth in the economy and subsequent confidence. The hotel sector is another hot area at the moment, because Germany has become known as an international safe-haven and the world's wealthy need somewhere to stay while they are viewing their investments.

Germany's investment prowess in the new safety-driven world of real estate investment is almost beyond question. Looking at the latest Emerging Trends in European Real Estate report for 2012 we see that not only are 2 of the top 5 cities in Germany (Munich 2nd and Berlin 4th) but you also have Hamburg in 7th, all above London in 10th and Frankfurt not far behind it in 13th. According to the report the survey respondents put Hamburg and Frankfurt in the top 5 for residential and office assets, and also ranked Hamburg 1st for Industrial investments, while Frankfurt was 3rd.

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So Why Are People Buying Property in Germany?

Since the financial crisis Germany has been one of the few developed economies in Europe to see economic growth return strongly, with GDP growth of 4.7% and 3% in 2010 and 2011 respectively. This combined with the safety of its growth track record and security of its economic size as 4th largest in the world has had investors beating a path towards Germany.

The government regulation of rents because of the high prevalence of renting in the housing market, prevented a boom and therefore prevented a bust in the housing market, while the banks always cautious lending attitudes left them with very little of the disease infecting the rest of the global banking infrastructure.

This all left Germany looking very appealing in the wake of the financial crisis, and so investors have been investing heavily in the safety and stability alone. Of course, once the economy started growing strongly rents began growing in the housing market, which also pushed up prices making buy to let investment in the country even more appealing – of course, for those who got in early this meant improving yields and even – shock horror – price growth – in Germany. Even now as the economy slows back into its track-record growth the sense of stability is still a big draw for investors, who have been buying apartments in the great cities like Berlin by the building load.

Another big draw is the prices. Government regulation slowing the market has left residential property prices in the likes of Berlin, Hamburg and Germany's other great cities well below other cities across Europe of comparable size and stature. But only now, as German rents continue to rise does property start to look undervalued. This is something that investors look for, but it also makes Germany and entry-level opportunity that many people can afford to profit from.

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