How Germany’s property market is profiting from the UK’s Brexit exodus
With so much focus on London over the last three years, it is worth noting that Germany has seven distinct economic hubs, including Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt - the latter with a mere 4% real estate vacancy as Germans working in finance return home and international firms plant flags.
Indeed JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are all expected to ramp up their Frankfurt operations within months, with KPMG and McKinsey & Co., and some Japanese banks set to follow. Five new commercial buildings will scrape the city’s sky within five years, which means a lot of cash-rich, time-poor people searching for high-end digs and the city’s lowdown.
This, according to Patricia Greissl, Managing Director of Quintessentially Estates Germany, gives Quintessentially a huge edge. “In Germany, most apartments don’t even hit the market; 40% are bought by their tenants. Because of our contacts, we can deliver what clients want, whether it is a bank needing to relocate staff and lease several apartments or a family seeking a home near the alps or lakes,” she says. “And because we have properties in the pipeline and a network of homeowners, we can move quickly”
Once a purchase is complete, various optional home management and lifestyle bolt-ons can help smooth the ongoing relocation even more, with Quintessentially handling everything from property maintenance to dry cleaning. This type of concierge service covers life outside of the home too. “Our clients tend to travel a lot,” says Greissl. “Someone who lives in Munich may want us to get Coldplay tickets, say, or access to gyms or spas, in another country.”
Quintessentially is looking to expand this package with new developments, offering a 12-month Elite membership at the signing of the purchase contract. “Buyers can use the services even before the project is completed,” she adds.
Of course, clients are increasingly viewing properties in key German cities as rental opportunities, with Quintessentially managing every aspect of the service. In the first half of 2018, while London was flatlining and New York slumped, residential property transactions throughout Germany surged by 19% to €8.8bn, compared to a year earlier.
“With purchase prices and rentals still comparatively low compared to other countries, we still see much potential for buying and renting throughout the seven big cities here,” says Greissl. “In numbers, we are speaking of average prices below 10.000 €/sqm for new builds, and below 7.000€/sqm for existing builds in prime locations, except for Munich and Frankfurt where the market is very tight. Berlin has experienced a high influx of international movers and the trend for furnished business apartments is strongly evident. When looking at the luxury segment, the gap is smaller. Besides high-quality German building standards with multiple terraces and high-end interior fittings, developers have picked up the trends of the international standards of shared amenities within the buildings. The luxury segment in prime locations starts at 10.000 €/sqm and goes up to beyond 20.000 €/sqm in Hamburg Alster locations, Munich prime locations and Frankfurt luxury high-rises in the Westend. In Berlin, high-rises and new builds in prime locations start at very moderate levels below 8.000€/sqm, while in the most favoured Kiezes they reach international levels. Increasingly a luxury large-scale apartment in the city centre is often the preferred choice, rather than a villa in the suburbs - and couples whose children have flown the nest also tend to move into the cities."
Moreover, Steve Kalthoff, CEO of Quintessentially Lifestyle Group in Germany underlines how important it is to take care of Quintessentially members' day-to-day lifestyle needs once they have set up home - whatever form that may take - stating: "The important thing is that we offer our clients a service specific to their needs. “We have one client - who works for a tech firm in Berlin - who spends her life in various hotels. We run errands for her and make sure that there are food and deliverables in her apartment, and that her yoga trainer is scheduled whenever she is home."
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