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Recht | 02.03.2006

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Aus IZ06/2006, S. 1

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In diesem Artikel:

Everybody's Darling

German real estate professionals are in for an exciting year - chances are that 2006 will see a German market more international, more capitalmarket oriented and more glamourous than ever. Now is n [...]

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Retail Investment Tip: "A Top Year for Sellers"

2006 is a year that clearly puts sellers in a good position on the retail investment market. The interest in properties or projects let over long contract periods is high. This year, you may reach sales prices that might not be possible in years to come. Initial return rates sank by some tenths of a percent in the course of 2005, and demand-induced pressure will shrink return rates by some more tenths of a percentage point this year yet again. The general tendency to buy is bound to make some companies feel motivated enough to de-ice additional real estate packages for sale on the market.

Buyers' relationships are characterised by fierce bidding competition. Therefore, I would advise you to check prices carefully. Buyers will be on the safe side when it comes to properties in locations that are viable in the long term. On one hand, these include well-established central locations in major cities plus established regional centres; on the other, they include decentralised, artificially created agglomerations where synergies arise among tenants, i.e. retail parks or regional centres for daily provisions.

Olaf Petersen, GfK Prisma, Retail Expert on the Council of Real Estate Experts

Office Investment Tip: "Yield Spread to Reach its Peak in 2006"

In 2006, the yield spread, i.e. the gap between the net initial return rate of an office property and the interest earned on a risk-free government bond, will reach its peak for Germany. Concurrently, the market for lettable office estates has overcome its lowest depths. Hence, this year may become the year of the office property. A growing demand for offices to let will, in turn, entail increasing purchasing prices from 2007 onwards.

If I were to invest, I would favour Hamburg and Munich. At present, Hamburg appears to be one of the centres of growth with clearly earmarked areas and interesting products. The city centre of Munich lacks interesting, new, versatile areas. Opportunities for investment in stocks and conversion to modern space are high.

I would be reluctant to buy in Frankfurt. On the other hand, Berlin's prospects are not at all bad, provided your building is located favourably and can be let in units of 250 to 300 sqm.

In fact, this is also true for all other cities and towns. Tenants' demand is set to focus on small units and the medium range between 1,000 and 3,000 sqm; the larger the unit, the weaker the demand for it. As to large users who require 5,000+ sqm, no more growth may be expected. All companies of this size purchased properties in the nineties, which they are still using themselves.

Hartmut Bulwien, BulwienGesa AG, Office Market Expert on the Council of Real Estate Experts

Housing Investment Tip: "Take a Realistic Approach to Local Markets"

This is yet another year of worthwhile purchases of residential properties packages from stocks, across the markets of large towns and cities. Germany has successfully faced international competitors in other industries, but the German housing industry has been spared such competition up to now. In fact, this is also due to the tradition of socially oriented housing policies and a non-profit approach, two more disincentives for lean strategies. Given these circumstances, housing companies used to lag far behind in terms of efficiency and productivity. Although the sales prices for residential packages have already risen, further increases of return rates will be feasible. On one hand, investors can yield two-digit results with more professional management approaches and optimised funding structures. On the other, return rates will also rise as impending changes occur on the German market for residential properties. As the option of reducing balance depreciation schemes on newly built lettable flats has been eliminated since the beginning of this year, and as this amendment applies in parallel with an approved introduction of a general speculation tax, investors are experiencing an initial shock. Thus, the total apartment market is bound to tighten even more, and rents for existing stock are due to rise.

May I advise foreign investors to proceed as follows: Check carefully if the flats offered to you offer good value for money, and take a realistic approach to local markets. Or in other, more practical terms: investing in a growth region will not automatically generate high return rates and vice versa. If you buy in too expensively in Munich, you will not make a profit, but if you opt for an inexpensive investment in Duisburg, you may. The same realistic approach should be taken if you assess the potentials for efficiency increases in housing corporations. Ultimately, it is key to assess the market more knowledgably than your competitors.

When it comes to developing new buildings, I would advise non-German investors to refrain from any measures at all, conceding the field to local providers. As to German developers, dealing with new fully detached houses is becoming more and more relevant again as there is a demand for such real estate. Local authorities, too, are gradually responding to this trend as they have started to focus more intensively on town houses as an issue.

Dr. Marie-Therese Krings-Heckemeier, Empirica AG, Expert for Residential Properties on the Council of Real Estate Experts