According to Daniel Ritter, CEO of Von Poll Real Estate, Germany has a lot to offer real estate investors, including a strong economy, low unemployment, an excellent infrastructure and a “reliable and functioning political and legal system.” In the following interview, Ritter shares what makes his firm successful, strategies that mirror those of America’s most successful brokers: technology, training and professionalism.
RE: Please describe current housing market.
DR: The German housing market is a strong seller’s market, especially in popular cities of all sizes with an appealing infrastructure. The average home price that we sell is around 400,000 Euro. On average, a home will be on the market for two to three months.
RE: What have been some of the most significant changes in market in recent years?
DR: The seller’s market has become stronger. The market has become quite dynamic over the past seven to eight years, and attractive towns and cities have become very popular. In many areas, the demand is higher than the supply. Prices have, therefore, gone up. In Frankfurt, condominiums cost 70 percent more than 10 years ago, and in Berlin, they’re 95 percent more. In smaller cities, increases are often more moderate. The low interest rate policy by the European Central Bank (ECB) in recent years has had an influence, too. The situation leads people to look for the best way to invest their money without it losing value—real estate is presently the favored solution.
RE: What are the various types of properties available in market, and which is most popular?
DR: There is a whole mix of property types: detached and duplex houses, terraced houses, villas, country homes, holiday homes, condominiums. Families in the countryside would probably prefer a detached house with a garden, while cosmopolitan city dwellers might prefer a condominium in an apartment block.
RE: What are some of the most important trends in market?
DR: Due to the rising demand and costs of housing in attractive cities, the focus of buyers is partly shifting toward suburban areas. Public transportation into the cities is mostly very good in Germany, so this is a valid alternative to living in the center of town. Urban re-densification is on the agenda, too, including building residential high-rises in top locations in cities such as Frankfurt. Communities are also searching for ways of identifying suitable land to develop completely new residential areas.