• Germany's news in English
 

Investment firm 'buys 22,000 German flats'

Published: 10 Apr 2012 15:54 GMT+02:00

Cerberus, together with the real estate management company, Corpus Sireo, is reportedly paying as much as €900 million to get the 22,000 flats from Speymill, a bankrupt UK firm, the newspaper said. Germany's federal cartel office has already approved the deal.

The huge deal is a sign of the German real estate market's renewed attractiveness for foreign investors, following several years in which real estate money went elsewhere, the FTD said.

Whitehall Blackstone, a Goldman-Sachs fund and Morgan Stanley were also reportedly interested in Speymill's property portfolio.

Cerberus is the Greek mythology name of the dog who watched over the entrance to hell, noted Der Spiegel, and suggested it was a deliberate choice as the firm has a reputation for being particularly aggressive.

In 2004 Cerberus, together with a Goldman Sachs subsidiary, bought GSW, a housing management owned by the state of Berlin that had more than 60,000 flats in its portfolio. Last year the investors went public with part of the company and sold the rest, removing them from the public housing market.

Germany's property market became less attractive to investors after credit dried up in 2007, but it is now much easier to get financing – either to buy apartments after they are renovated or as a package, as Cerberus has done.

The Speymill holdings were considered a tough sell because the flats are spread out all over Germany, Kai Klose, a real estate analyst with the Berenberg Bank told the FTD. He calculated, based on market rates, that Cerberus would pay as much as €900 million for the deal.

The federal government also plans to capitalize on the improved market conditions, the FTD said, with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble planning a second attempt at selling the government-owned TLG company. It succeeded the Treuhand company that administered state-owned property from the former East Germany.

Schäuble tried to unload a package of offices, industrial areas and flats in Berlin and eastern Germany in 2008 but couldn't find a buyer. The minister now sees a better chance for a sale, since prices are on the rise, the paper wrote.

TLG's offerings, which include 11,500 flats, are valued at around €1.7 billion. Schäuble wants to insert language in the sales documents that would prevent luxury renovations of the flats, but that's not enough for Left party parliamentary leader Gregor Gysi, who is worried that a sale would make tenants "purely investment objects."

Those interested need to hurry up. Potential buyers have until this coming Monday to make their interest known, the FTD said.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:57 April 10, 2012 by catjones
To prevent tenants as being seen as 'investment objects', Cerberus' management will visit each of the 22,000 tenants personally and bring offerings of beer and bretzels as part of their Welcome Wagon approach to real estate investment management. "We want to get to know our objects on a personal level, sit with them, go through old scrapbooks together. We then invite the tenants to our corporate headquarters so they can touch our workstations. We don't want to frighten them, poor dears.'
19:26 April 10, 2012 by murka
I can well turn out to be an idiotic move, given the shrinking population. Goldman Sachs owned a building site here in the city, let it crumble unfinished for 10 years, and finally sold for a penny back to the city. A great management of investors' money, isn't it?
08:57 April 11, 2012 by siba
@ murka: that does not apply to berlin. berlin has a big influx of (mostly western so not poor) immigrants and grows year by year - and buying or renting appartments becomes increasingly unaffordable... though the housing market is still good compared to london or paris.
21:34 April 11, 2012 by Sayer
I smell a rat!
08:49 April 13, 2012 by stephang
It's true that Berlin is now seeing population growth, unlike Germany as a whole. Rents are still low but have started rising substantially over the last years, and so have house prices. Low interest rates represent a major impetus for the local housing market. For more see http://www.berlinhousingboom.com/
20:33 April 15, 2012 by Englishted
Have I missed something?

I believed the world downturn was due to American investment companies attempting to make a killing by "investing " in real estate,all be it in the U.S.A. last time.

Take your carpetbags and get out of town.
16:56 April 27, 2012 by jabulani
German property market has been very stable up to now. Yes ...prices are going up but one has to be careful of the devaluation of the Euro. already the Euro lost about 15 % to the British pound. I believe that well positioned properties will attain good capital appreciation...keep in mind that ONLY THE PRIME POSITION ones win and never loose value. What about all the rest? If you cannot buy the best....dont buy.

If you buy for rental income as long as you live in an Euro zone country will be ok., if you live in uk....mmmm take care.
Today's headlines
Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture
A fissure on the Autobahn near Heidelberg. Photo: DPA

Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture

The heatwave sweeping across the country may have Germans flocking to the sea this weekend, but the extreme temperatures are also causing Autobahns to break apart. READ  

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats

A vast Nazi mega-complex meant as holiday homes for German workers and later used by the Soviets as a Cold War barracks is about to be turned into luxury flats. READ  

Greece crisis
'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble
A poster of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in Athens reads "For five years he has sucked your blood. Now tell him NO." Photo: DPA

'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble

UPDATE: Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Friday that there would be no quick release of bailout funds to Greece after the country's referendum on whether to accept its creditors' terms on Sunday. READ  

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp
The new Deutsche Post stamp showing the Dalai Lama. Photo: DPA

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp

Pro-Tibet activists have created a new limited-edition stamp featuring the Dalai Lama to mark the Tibetan spiritual leader's 80th birthday. READ  

Women's World Cup
'Germany will crack England': top coach
Star striker Celia Sasic. Photo: DPA

'Germany will crack England': top coach

The manager of European champions FFC Frankfurt told The Local he expects Germany to beat England in the third place play-off in the Women's World Cup, and predicted his protege Celia Sasic will grab a goal or two. READ  

NSA surveillance scandal
Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest-profile German victim of NSA spying, speaking on the phone. Photo: DPA

Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership following fresh spying revelations. READ  

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds
Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick. Photo: DPA file

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds

Germany's top beach volleyball pair are storming the world championships in Holland and prepare to face Brazil in the semis on Friday. READ  

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Photo: DPA

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks loosed a broadside against her cabinet colleagues on Friday in a guest article for Die Welt, saying that they had decided to do too little to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a way that would cost too much. READ  

Greece crisis
BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'
Image: BILD/screenshot

BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'

Tabloid Bild continued its campaign against bailouts for Greece on Friday by calling its own "referendum", asking readers to fill out a poll on whether Germany should keep stumping up. German politicians were divided on how the Greek vote would affect Europe. READ  

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar
The Panther tank removed from a cellar in Kiel, with a prosecutors' evidence label attached to its barrel. Photo: DPA

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar

Police searched a villa in a wealthy suburb of Kiel on Wednesday and found a Second World War tank, a torpedo and other weaponry in the cellar. On Thursday they were still working on removing the tank. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,945
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd