Posts Tagged 'Berlin'

Spring in Berlin’s property market…

It’s Spring also on the Berlin’s property market…we closed our 2 small deals at the end of 2007 (bottom of the market) and during the dire phase of the crisis (March 2009).  The market had looked quite during 2008 and 2009, with less interesting offers and real estate agents complaining about a “drought” of foreign customers. Also, Altbau were difficult to find during the banking crisis because people preferred to hold on to their property rather than to cash to be put in those same bank accounts which looked a bit riskier all of a sudden.

But we start to see some signals that things are changing.

a) Greece problems and Peripheral Europe budget deficit woes. From anecdoctical evidence, it appears that Southern Europeans are coming back to Berlin en masse looking for deals. Some want to leave their countries (we suppose this regards the young) some others want to invest their savings in a country perceived as safer as their home land. Some others think that compared with their home towns, Berlin offers unbeatable value. Well, we fall in this category since 2007.

b) News spotted on the Wall Street Journal this morning: GSW is a likely candidate for being one of the biggest real estate IPOs in Europe. That should be a good sign.

c) Germany locomotive. Today the data released show that Germany’s manufacturing activity is picking up strongly. We’re not yet in Phase 3 (pick up in Consumption) but Phase 1 – restocking – and Phase 2 – capital investment – are already producing a manufacturing and industrial production upswing.

Last year Berlin’s property values went up by about 4%, whereas in other markets prices were either plunging or remained sticky (Rome). This means that Berlin still offers compelling value…but not quick profits.

For the long term, and before inflation picks up again (after all the subprime crisis was absorbed by enormous amounts of cash pumped in the economy by Central Banks, sooner or later this cash will fuel inflation), Berlin looks still interesting to us. Two years after, it was a good investment. Low risk, slow return, but great value.

Photo: GSW Immobilien Headquarters, @ Checkpoint Charlie Berlin

The shifting image of Berlin

Quick flashback. We had visited Berlin for the first time in 2002. Potsdamer Platz was in the making, and the Bundestag’s glass cupola was the absolute icon of that trip.

Lehrter Bahnhof, Regierungsviertel were just big sandy building sites, a big question mark was hovering above the copper-coloured Palast der Republik.

On the other hand the image of Berlin we were now forging in our minds, reading property ads, had very little to do with the Berlin we had fell in love with in 2002, all Friedrichstrasse/Potsdamer/Sony Center/Renzo Piano/Richard Rogers/Libeskind/shimmering glass/steel frames/daring cranes.

Leafy quarters, cobbled streets, bycicles, the urban village quality of life, a good local doner, this is what we were looking for. Not a fascinating one-night-stand with the city. Rather a sort of stable relationship.

Where it all started – Paris

Cosy grey Christmas in Paris

Cosy grey Christmas in Paris

Christmas 2006. We were in Paris, visiting friends.

It was cold and grey. Good company, cosy home, hot tea and the Herald Tribune.

We read this article about Berlin. I tore the page and it travelled home in one of those brand new art books. Er…yes another clipping but we felt that this one was important.

We kept going back to that article, mainly in our discussions with friends, but it was still a fantasy or a day-dream.

And then we decided to go back to Berlin, five years after our very first trip in the German capital.

And look for a flat.

Why not sharing it?

We started an adventure in Berlin. We discovered that we are not the only ones, who at some stage stopped day-dreaming and decided to go for it.

Special thanks to all those who brainstormed along with us. Lys, Vivi, Eva, Astrid, Eckart, Franck-Paul, Claudia, Dorit, Giuliana, Gabi, Friederike…


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