Germany’s capital is booming in all manner of ways — from art to architecture, music to technology — and even its traditional food scene is catching up with the rest of the world.
With a relatively cheap cost of living — in Western Europe only Madrid and Lisbon are more affordable — Berlin offers great value and a diverse culture.
This year it came third behind Toyko and Vienna in Monocle’s Quality of Life Survey covering the world’s top 25 most liveable cities and was judged by consultants PwC to be Europe’s best property investment prospect.
Sexy and we know it
In 2004, the then mayor of Berlin described his city as “poor but sexy” and this seems a vibe that people like.
Berlin has a population of 3.5 million, with more than 40,000 new residents arriving every year. Property prices have risen faster than in any other German city as a consequence, but still represent good value, says Peter Rabitz of Zabel Property Group.
“Foreign investors focus on the historic centre of Berlin and that generally means the area of Mitte,” says Rabitz. “Berlin is Germany’s biggest rental market with only 15 per cent of the city’s population as owner-occupiers. Investors can expect rental yields of three to five per cent net.”
Rabitz sells and manages new-build property in affluent Mitte with 75 per cent of his clients coming from abroad. Investors typically spend £145,000 upwards on small apartments of 325sq ft to 540sq ft, while those wanting a home for themselves buy two-bedroom apartments from £300,000.
Meine Mitte is an off-plan development at the former site of the Berlin Wall. There are 102 apartments, ranging from one to five bedrooms. More than half have already been sold. Prices start at £100,000 and rise to £600,000, with service charges from £17 a month, excluding utility bills.
“Soviet chic” might not be a leading design staple, but at Strausberger Platz it’s proving a striking hit. This is a landmark project that symbolises Berlin’s modernisation while giving a significant nod to its recent past.
Strausberger Platz is an iconic 1953 Stalinist building in Karl-Marx-Allee, one of Europe’s widest boulevards. Built by the German Democratic Republic, it was a showpiece for the socialist ideal. The ceramic-fronted apartment building was a prime address for a lucky few East Berliners who each received a “workers’ palace”.
Today it is well worth a visit just for the wonderful show flat by designer Stephan Schilgen with its Bauhaus, mid-century styling. The eight-storey building has high ceilings and New York-style views over Berlin. The location is central — Alexanderplatz is five minutes away and Volkspark, with 121 acres of parkland, is even closer.
The 141 well-renovated one- and two-bedroom apartments are light and airy and start from £138,000 for 570sq ft without fitted kitchens.