Russians are Berlin’s top luxury condominium buyers, Chinese catching up
Foreign buyers, including large numbers from China and Russia, are targeting Berlin, according to a report.
“Many high net worth individuals from China are looking for apartments in Berlin,” the newspaper quoted Thomas Zabel from the Zabel Property Group, specialists for luxury property in central Berlin. About 8% of Zabel’s clients are Chinese nationals, spending on average EUR 500,000 on a condominium in the city. Entire Chinese families are pooling their resources to buy German property as individual Chinese citizens are only allowed to transfer $50,000 per year outside their home country.
“Chinese investors are very keen on property. At home, in major cities such as Beijing or Shanghai, Chinese people are not able to own more than one condominium. So it’s no real surprise that wealthy Chinese investors are on the market for properties beyond China’s borders,” is Zabel’s take on their growing interest.
Zabel’s largest single group of buyers comes from Russia and the former Soviet states. In order to serve these clients, Zabel has recruited agents from Moscow and St. Petersburg.
“It’s not the oligarchs, it’s the educated upper-classes, and entrepreneurs with mid-sized companies, who are making Berlin their second, third, or even fourth home,” observed Zabel. His Russian clients spend an average of EUR 1 mln on a condo in Berlin. The most expensive property changed hands for EUR 5.5 mln. Buyers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Israel have also been active. Only 30% of those interested in Berlin’s high-end properties were actually German. Zabel has not noticed any marked increase in Swiss buyers’ interest following the unpegging of the franc from the euro.
Zabel’s company brokered condominiums worth a total of EUR 100 mln last year, with this year’s figure expected to reach 140 mln. Zabel is currently acting for 360 clients who have set their sights on a condominium worth EUR 3 mln or more in Berlin.
According to Zabel, demand is running at a much higher level than supply. Most new build projects are fully sold before ground is even broken. This is the case for the latest Zabel project, Guardian, and its 134 condominiums. The apartments range from 40 to 180sq.m., with prices from EUR 160,000 to more than 1 mln.
Half of Zabel’s foreign buyers intend to use the condos themselves, the other half view their new property as an investment asset.