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PROPERTY

Hidden Stasi bunker for rent – just €3,000/month

Why would you want to rent a concealed bunker built for the Stasi on the outskirts of Berlin in the 1980s? The Local tracks down the company behind the listing - and the history of the bunker under the GDR.

Hidden Stasi bunker for rent - just €3,000/month
Photo: Paasche AG

If you're looking for a property to rent near Berlin, a 1980s nuclear bunker 30 kilometres from the city centre might not be top of your wishlist.

But scrolling through the latest adverts on German property website immonet.de, that's exactly what your search could turn up.

Built in 1988, the nuclear bunker in question is in Gosen-Neu Zwittau, a small satellite town by the Seddinsee lake.

A Stasi base in the GDR

“The area housed a training building for the Ministry of State Security [Stasi],” René Krüger from Berliner Unterwelten (Berlin Underworlds), a society which explores and documents subterranean architecture in and around the city, told The Local.

As the GDR's state security service, the Stasi became known as one of the most repressive intelligence agencies and secret police forces ever to have existed.

The bunker would have been made from prefabricated components, he said – and would have been used by Stasi members in operation in Gosen.

“It's also been proved that Red Army Faction terrorists were trained and accommodated here in Gosen,” he said.

Photo: Paasche AG

The 1000m2 plot has been on the market for around six months and has already received a lot of interest, Edmund Heidner, director of Potsdam-based estate agents Paasche AG told The Local.
 
The company has received interest from “a variety of people” wanting to rent the plot, as well as a few who were interested in buying it outright – but the company isn't offering the property for sale, Heidner said.
 
'It would be terrible to live in'

Those searching for their new dream home on the outskirts of Berlin might want to give this property a miss – because sadly, one thing the bunker isn't well kitted-out for is living in.

“It would be terrible to live in,” said Heidner. “There aren't any windows!”

The building is listed as a “Free time rental” on the website – does that mean it's a place one might go sauntering off to at the weekends for a bit of rest and relaxation?

“Well, I probably wouldn't spend my free time there, but it's up to whoever rents the bunker!” Heidner said.

A “shell” of a building

The rental will set its new tenants back €2,000 a month, with additional utility costs of €1,000 pcm.

At 35.9m long, 38.4m wide and 3.1m tall, the bunker has 40 rooms – and with a rental price of just €2 per m2, it could seem like an absolute steal on first glance compared with property in central Berlin.

But at some point between 1990 and 2007, when Paasche AG took ownership of the plot, the bunker was looted.

Photo: Paasche AG

This looting has left the building “in a pitiful state,” the online advert admits.

With all facilities demolished or unrigged, the “structural shell” is all that remains of the bunker.

The perfect place to grow mushrooms?

But this won't stop creative renters finding ways to put the property to use, Heidner believes.

From the outside, the building can be made extremely secure – making it ideal for storing documents, art or other important possessions, Heidner said.

The bunker is also well insulated from interfering signals, making it well adapted to become a storehouse for computer systems and internet data.

It could make an excellent data centre, Heidner explained. 

And one more alternative use for this 1980s bunker?

“It could be used for breeding mushrooms,” speculated Heidner.

It sounds pretty far-fetched, but the building's cool, dark interior makes it well suited for growing fungi.

By Hannah Butler

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PROPERTY

Why house prices in Munich are starting to fall

The real estate market in the southern German state of Bavaria is changing due to the precarious economic situation, a new report has found.

Why house prices in Munich are starting to fall

What’s happening?

Germany’s largest state – Bavaria – is known for many positive things, such as stunning nature, culture and festivals. But it also has a reputation for being an expensive place to live. Many cities, especially Munich, are notorious for having some of the highest rental and property costs in the country. 

But it looks like the trend of rising house prices is beginning to dampen. 

According to the latest report by the Real Estate Association Germany South Region (IVD Süd e.V.), inflation and increased mortgage interest rates have put an end to the period of significant hikes in the Bavarian real estate market – at least for the time being. 

“The rapidly growing financing costs and the uncertainties associated with the impending recession in Germany as a result of the Ukraine war are inhibiting the dynamics of market activity and, in particular, the price dynamics in the residential real estate market,” said Professor Stephan Kippes, head of the IVD market research institute.

It reflects a general trend that we’ve been starting to see in Germany as the tough economic situation bites. 

According to a recent study by property search portal ImmoScout24, the number of people buying houses in Germany fell dramatically in the second quarter of 2022. And In many of the major metropoles, property prices also went down as people struggled to find interested buyers.

READ ALSO: How property prices are dropping in major German cities 

Where can we see this trend?

The price changes can be seen clearly in the state capital Munich, reported regional broadcaster BR24.

According to the study, the average property price, which was €9,500 per square metre in spring, has now dropped to €9,450. 

In some Bavarian cities, the trend reversal is not yet as noticeable. In Nuremberg, for example, property prices are still rising but at a slower rate than previously seen. The price of a property in spring was on average €3,630 per square metre, and is now €3,710, according to the study. 

Experts say it shows how the situation is developing. 

“The state capital of Munich, where the first price declines for residential real estate were identified in the fall of 2022 for the first time in a long time, could serve as a seismograph for future developments in Bavaria’s large and medium-sized cities,” said Kippes. 

Homes in Erfurt, Thuringia.

Homes in Erfurt, Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Martin Schutt

Interest increases for buyers

At first glance, this development could seem tempting for those looking to buy property in Germany.

But Kippes points out that buyers are hardly benefitting from the decreasing prices – because interest rates have risen. 

“A few months ago, you could get an interest rate of 0.8 percent,” said Kippes. “If we take a purchase price of €500,000, let’s assume that €150,000 is equity and a €350,000 loan is needed; two percent repayment, 10 years fixed interest rate. Then, you would have paid €817, but today it would cost you €1,473.”

The IVD study said that the historically low-interest rate level of the past years in Germany “made it possible to compensate, at least partially, for the massive increases in purchase prices in many places”.

READ ALSO: The rules foreigners need to know when buying property in Germany 

“Now that the relief provided by low-interest rates has largely disappeared, but at the same time purchase prices have remained at dizzying heights, owner-occupiers in particular, who traditionally often finance with a high proportion of borrowed capital, are increasingly dropping out as buyers,” said the study. 

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