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Anlagen | 07.03.2019

Aus IZSpecial anlässlich der Immobilienmesse MIPIM/2019, S. 224

Von Gerda Gericke

In diesem Artikel:

"There's upward potential in Berlin”

Source: JLL
Rüdiger Thräne's heart beats for the capital.

Source: JLL

Berlin. The way you perceive Berlin will depend on whether you're from abroad or Germany - international investors love Berlin as a capital but local investors will find a fly in the ointment sooner or later, says Rüdiger Thräne, Head of JLL's Berlin branch.

Immobilien Zeitung: Mr Thräne, why is the Berlin real estate market so attractive for foreign investors?

Rüdiger Thräne: Increasing uncertainty in many parts of the world has caused investors to look for safe havens. In Europe, Germany is considered to be one of them. No other economy in the world has been performing so reliably and solidly as Germany's. This benefits the German capital all the more because it's built up a reputation as the place to be for all things digital and technological.

IZ: Foreign investors have a different perception of Berlin to the Germans who tend to be more critical. Why?

Thräne: Berlin is a capital. In other countries, this status is worth more than in Germany. Certainly, Paris- or London-style centralism isn't what anybody wants in this country but it's a role that foreigners associate Berlin with. German investors don't mind setting their sights on smaller cities, whereas foreigners are not so keen on them.

IZ: In other words, Berlin is important. However, most real estate is traded in Frankfurt. Can you explain this apparent mismatch?

Thräne: Foreigners want to invest huge sums. They prefer to buy properties upwards of €200m. In order to sell them on safely at a later stage, however, they need a big market like Berlin. Unfortunately, there's simply not sufficient supply in Berlin. Product scarcity will always impact on transaction volume. Nevertheless, last year Berlin recorded 30 transactions in the commercial and residential segments in the three-digit million-euro range, six more than in 2017, one more than in Frankfurt and more than Dusseldorf, Cologne and Stuttgart put together. So Berlin has turned out to be the city with the highest number of large-scale transactions among the Big Seven.

IZ: At less than 3%, Berlin return rates are quite meagre. Are foreigners comfortable with that?

Thräne: Yes, they are, we've been observing continued high demand from abroad. Berlin has benefited from the capital bonus even if return rates are lower than in any of the other Big Seven markets. But even with gross return rates below 3%, investments will continue to be attractive as long as the economy keeps growing and rents keep rising. And here there's certainly some upward potential in Berlin.

IZ: What evidence do you have to support your assumption?

Thräne: Simply because rents have recently risen substantially, some 75% of existing office floor space in central locations like the Charlottenburg or Mitte districts are currently let below market average. On a global scale, rental growth in Berlin outstripped any other location in 2018 - the peak rent rose by 13% to €34/sqm. Space is scarce, and as soon as scarcity sets in, everything becomes more expensive. Within the orbit of the Berlin light railway, the S-Bahn, vacancy is as low as 1%. For years, the city had been in hibernation. Now, its market has started to become normal. But Rents are still lower than in Munich and Frankfurt.

IZ: Thank you for the interview Mr Thräne.

Rüdiger Thräne was interviewed by Gerda Gericke.

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