Germany has been seen as the ‘safe haven’ of the Eurozone for some time now, with its GDP five times bigger than the rest last year.
Taking a closer look into the country’s property markets, Berlin really stands out as the key destination when considering where to invest in residential property. The city has a very strong employment sector boasting the highest job growth of any German state over the last two years. Its diverse, dynamic and modern economy is fuelled by sectors such as technology, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy and biochemical engineering, and each with a skilled workforce. This is helping attract professionals and families from all nations.
Over 200 nationalities work and live there, highlighting just how welcoming and liveable the city is for all nationalities. Tourism numbers are also increasing year-on-year with 150 million visitors last year.
Berlin is very much a continental hub for both air and rail. Brandenburg Airport is currently going through a huge expansion to meet the ever-growing demand of business and recreational travellers. Once completed (estimated by 2016), the airport will cover 1,470 hectares, which is equivalent to the size of 2,000 football pitches.
When the new airport goes into operation it will be equipped to handle 25 million passengers a year and. Due to the ever-increasing demand, its design can accommodates further expansion plans to accommodate up to 45 million passengers a year, making this one of the largest airports in Europe.
The scale of this project alone shows just how busy Berlin is becoming. It’s worth noting that no country invests into such facilities unless there is an imminent need.
Berlin is also home to renowned universities such as the Humboldt, which have thousands of students enrolling from overseas. The top three universities combined have over 100,000 students enrolled on permanent placements.
Like any location around the world where there are strong fundamentals, a transparent legal structure and a strong economy, investors are attracted. With dropping unemployment levels, a growing population and strong GDP numbers (not to mention very low interest rates), Berlin offers fantastic value in residential property and attracting savvy investors from all corners.
Berlin offers extremely strong yields as many people prefer to rent over buying their family home. Over half of the population living and working in the city rent their property, which is great news for buy-to-let investors.
Property prices increased 9 per cent in 2013 over the previous year with yields averaging above 6 per cent. The strong yield in Berlin is really underpinned by a shortage of housing, with a reported shortfall of 5,400 units at the start of 2014.
I always advise to invest into locations within strong markets that offer a safer play. Personally, I prefer to invest in pockets of value in and around the Central Business District (CBD) as you are likely to have your property tenanted from day one to a professional in a good job.
With a very low average property price, high yields and low interest rates, Berlin will be a strong addition to any property investment portfolio.
The writer is the regional head at IP Global.