Booming areas of the capital, such as Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and Mitte, have seen a dramatic rise in foreign buyers snapping up property. At property firm Accentro alone, one third of customers are now from overseas.
Almost all paid in cash said company head Jacopo Mingazzini. Some even bought without viewing a property, he added.
High-end property dealer Engel&Volkers also reported a rise in Greek and Italian clients, Tetzlaff-Immobilien said it had a lot of Spanish buyers and popular online house-finding site Immobilienscout24 also said it had found a notable increase in Greek business.
Foreign buyers were turning to Germany for several reasons, one of the main ones being that they wanted to put their money somewhere safe, away from the beleaguered economies of their home countries. The German capital’s hip reputation was an added bonus.
“They are paying for safety and are often willing to accept high prices for it,” said Thomas Beyerle from property investment firm IVG. He added that Germany, alongside Switzerland, was “an international anchor.”
Rising rents were not even a deterrent for buyers, as increasing prices are being seen by investors as a sign that they would likely be able to sell off a property at a profit.
Plus, flats costing between €1,400 and €1,500 per square metre were still up for grabs in Berlin, “something that in other large metropolises is unthinkable,” said Mingazzini. He added that the city was “very affordable compared to other places in Europe and even within Germany.”
“People buying in Berlin are buying with the foresight of the value going up,” said Einar Skjerven from the Skjerven Group. In Munich or Hamburg, this was unlikely, he added.
And it was not just sought-after, sprawling loft apartments in trendier parts of the city that were in high demand from foreigners. Family homes in the former West Berlin were also popular.