One of Berlin’s top luxury real estate firms is riding the German capital’s high-end property zeitgeist by making a move on international markets. Bewocon has appointed UK marketeers to promote its wares in the UK and China, while expanding its portfolio beyond Berlin to Hamburg, the Baltic Coast and Frankfurt.
Things seem to be really kicking off in Europe’s most uber-hipster city, with Savills citing 95% growth in residential capital values over the last ten years and leading property broker Ziegert Bank und Immobilienconsulting GmbH – which claims to sell one in ten new apartments in Berlin, with one in five of those deals going to overseas buyers – reporting that growth in the local luxury residential market is accelerating, with total sales expected to increase by more than 50% over the next five years. The luxury residential market in the German capital expanded, according to the firm, by 20% in 2015; 170 apartments were sold at prices over €1m during 2015, and Ziegert has already sold 56 high-end units in Q1 2016 alone. But Berlin’s high end property market is still in its infancy, equating to just 4% off the overall residential transaction volume.
Historically, Berlin has been one of Europe’s most affordable capitals with its low rents and cost of living attracting students, artists and party people. Even after reunification rents remained relatively low. In the last five years, however, those creative sorts have matured into wealthy tech entrepreneurs and creative industry leaders – bolstering demand for decent living quarters.
Demand now outstrips supply in the luxury sector, which has seen significant value increases over the last five years; an apartment sold for €1.3m in 2012 is today likely to be worth €3.4m. A 17% jump in sale prices in 2015 made it Ziegert’s highest grossing year since it started out 30 years ago.
PWC and the Urban Land Institute recently put Berlin right at the top of its list of European cities for investment prospects, smashing London down into 15th place. “Many interviewees expect the German capital to thrive well beyond 2016,” said the authors of Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2016, “based on its young population and its growing reputation as a technology and cultural centre, as well as having the land available for development.”
Savills has also recognised Berlin’s burgeoning high-end importance, calling it a “magnet for creative talent” and placing it on its influential 12 Cities report for the first time in 2015 – dubbing it an “upstart city” due to German capital’s “economic precociousness on the global stage”.
So Bewocon, which started out in 2014 and specialises in selling luxury developments in prime locations across the city, seems to be right on the zeitgeist with its international roll-out. The firm has brought on UK-based PR outfit Spider PR to promote a global launch with a focus on UK and Chinese markets “in response to increased demand from the international marketplace.” At the same time, Bewocon is expanding its portfolio beyond Berlin’s boundaries to deal in properties in Hamburg, Frankfurt, and along the Baltic coast.
Karl Zeller, Bewocon’s Executive Partner: “We are excited to be introducing the company to the British market and are confident that our varied and elegant projects will be in high demand. Unlike other German agencies, we promise to work closely with customers from the moment they express interest until the day their property is delivered – and beyond. As such we offer a truly unique package of the very best products coupled with the levels of support and assistance that sophisticated international buyers have become accustomed to.”
Nikolaus Ziegert, Founder and Managing Director of Ziegert Bank und Immobilienconsulting GmbH: “Keen domestic and international demand, stable economic development in Germany and in Berlin in particular, and the trend to invest in tangible assets, all make luxury property in Berlin the perfect financial investment. Demand in the top price segment is growing, driven by domestic entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals and by a growing number of foreign investors from Switzerland, Italy, China, America and Russia and increasingly UK. Over 20% of our apartments are sold to overseas investors; this growing demand demonstrates Berlin’s attractiveness as an investment destination.”
Berlin’s developing luxury property market
Ziegert is currently marketing more than 500 apartments across Berlin and is the exclusive vendor of Daniel Libeskind’s Sapphire development (pictured below), the architect’s first residential building in Germany. Over 85% of the 72 apartments have already been sold ahead of completion later this year. The most expensive penthouse is expected to achieve circa €4.5m. The company is also marketing Kronprinzengaerten apartments located in Berlin’s historic Mitte district overlooking the iconic Crown Prince’s Palace, Humbolt University and Museum’s Island.
Bewocon has a pretty varied portfolio in Berlin; here’s a selection of high-end highlights:
Templiner Park (pictured below) sits in the popular Teutoburger Platz in the former east of the city in Prenzlauer Berg locality well-known for its clubs, galleries, restaurants and fashion stores. All of the 107 apartments, starting from one-bedroom including penthouses with 9 rooms, feature a balcony, loggia or terrace overlooking the surrounding historic buildings and leafy square and are just a stone’s throw from the famous Museum Island, Friedrichstrasse, Volkspark Friedrichshain and Alexanderplatz. Prices from: €234,900
Baumgartenufer is found in the south-east of Berlin near where Müggelspree and Dahme rivers meet. Set in Köpenick district which boasts seven lakes and 167 kilometres of waterways the region offers the largest water sports area in the capital complemented by well-kept restaurants and hotels. The 35 apartments set over 4,000m² of landscaped park-like grounds overlook the River Erpe and are surrounded by water and nature with easy access to schools, the airport and Berlin’s city centre. Prices from: €149,000
The Penthouses City-West (pictured below) are four modern maisonette apartments set within the exclusive, elegant and traditional neighbourhood of Charlottenburg famed for its royal heritage. Their architecture is a prime example of the new face of City-West with the two street frontages of the Maison Ouest forming the basis for the design complete with late nineteenth-century ‘Gründerzeit’ flair. The wings of the building are crowned with modern constructions whilst the properties offer avant-garde living space over two floors complete with roof gardens. Prices from: €4,789,900
Tiziangärten (pictured below) is located at Tizianstraße 13 in Potsdam on a 10,000 m² development in the middle of “Berlin Vorstadt” (Berlin suburbs), surrounded by Heiligen See and Tiefem See lakes and the river Havel. A total of 28 apartments evenly distributed within four 3-storey houses will be available ranging from one to four bedrooms. Using high quality materials that reflect the surrounding areas the apartments will feature 3 metre high ceilings, with large floor to ceiling windows. Ground floor apartments will boast spacious private gardens and apartments on the upper levels will have a balcony. The penthouses will have luxurious roof terraces with impressive views. Parking spaces, bicycle storage and individual storage rooms will be provided with each apartment. Prices from: €359,000
Berlin Price Guide: Per square metre by subway station
Black Label Properties recently devised a handy property map which compares the price and rental value of an average apartment across Berlin, as divvied up by subway stations.
Historically, the richer areas of Berlin were in the West, but now areas like Prenzlaeuer Berg (former East) are popular and desirable with overseas investors.
A few take-homes about relative values in Berlin:
- Berlin Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg (former East Berlin) are very popular amongst international buyers and prices continue to rise. A typical one-bed is around €250,000-300,00 or €4,500-5,000 per square metre.
- Berlin Westend, Grunewald and the South West are comparatively undervalued in comparison.
- Berlin Charlottenburg, Westend, Wilmersdorf, Grunewald and even Berlin Spandau (far west – close to the Olympic Stadium) offer strong opportunities as prices have room for growth in the near future. Adlershof – known as the “city of science, technology and media'”is an up-and-coming area with its greenbelt status, international business clientele and close proximity to Schoenefeld Airport. A one-bed apartment in Charlottenburg, Westend, Wilmersdorf is around €200,000 or €3,500-4,500, which is a difference of €500 per square metre, or 15% in price.
Click on the map to enlarge it