Few places can say with certainty, that they still have stable investor confidence going into 2021.
The stock markets have been exceptionally volatile, there is a global pandemic and political stability is teetering on the edge in many countries.
If you haven't yet, now is the time to diversify your portfolio with an asset class that shows more stability in a reliably-managed economy. Luckily, there is one standing firmly ahead of the rest, historically good at crisis management.
With the largest economy in Europe, Germany is renowned as a safe haven -having mitigated risk significantly during the 2007/2008 Global Financial Crisis. From a macroeconomic perspective, sentiment remained positive for 2020 despite uncertainty internationally thanks to the robust labour market and increasing domestic consumption.
In light of increasing demand particularly for residential property, the number of housing unit completions across the country have been insufficient to close the supply gap totalling over 1 million units as of 2019. This under-supply has translated into upward pressure on both house prices and rental rates, especially in the 8 key cities.
Given the movement towards urbanisation, it is prudent to select a real estate investment in one of the key cities promising growth. The 2019 Housing Market Report suggested Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich all as favourable markets, but no options were as quintessentially promising as Berlin or Leipzig.
When looking from a micro-economic perspective, Berlin is a prime example of a German city experiencing a favourable shift in both demand and supply. It most recently won the 2nd place accolade of Best European City for Investment in 2020, according to PwC and the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in European Real Estate. It continues to outperform Germany’s GDP growth rate, with an average annual rate of 4% in recent years.
Berlin is the most populated city in the EU, having become a hub for great talent from around the country and abroad. The German Economic Institute predicts that by 2035 there will be over 4 million people living in this captivating city. The growing workforce is stronger than both London or Paris at 4.4%.
Some may think there is cause for concern of a housing bubble materialising given the last global crisis, but it must be stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic is not an economic crisis, the fundamentals on which it stands are completely different. Historically, housing has been the go-to asset for flight-to-safety investors as it is considered the least volatile asset class.
There is no economy in the world more resilient and effective at crisis mitigation than the German economy, particularly within the capital of Berlin. While most cities experienced minimal or no capital appreciation, Berlin's prime market experienced the third highest capital appreciation of all global cities in H1 2020.
The best kept secret is that although property prices have risen 11.8% in 2018, they are still two to three times less than the price of New York or London real estate.
Berlin operates as Germany’s centre, not only for government but also for technology and culture. The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which will be shortly opened, will provide direct links to the key financial centres of the world, with an initial capacity at 35 million passengers per year. Once in the city, foreigners and Berliners alike can make use of the advanced metropolitan transport system with 19000km of rail lines and the largest central station in Europe. This progressive efficiency in transportation leaves Berlin with the lowest ratio of automobiles per head of any tier 1 German city.
Perhaps an even more interesting growth in development is the industry moving to the city. Google, Samsung and Pfizer all have offices in Berlin and Elon Musk has announced his first European Tesla Gigafactory will open nearby. It is forecast to bring 10,000 new jobs and attract talent in technology from all over the world.
Berlin already contains 70% of Germany's well established digital and technology startups and received €4.1 billion last year in venture capital. The only other centre of innovation with as diverse a pool of global talent, is Silicon Valley in San Francisco. An area which also happens to have the second highest rent for residential property in the world.
In terms of culture, the global city has arrived and in many ways also mimics San Francisco. Berlin is renowned for being strongly diverse, eco-friendly and contemporary. Using English as a common medium has made it popular for millennial expats as well as it being the leading city of Europe’s art scene.
With promising job prospects in booming industries it is no surprise that the youth is narrowing in on Berlin. The marriage of historical charm and green spaces with all the modern conveniences of an advanced city make it the perfect choice.
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