Rus­sians are Ber­lin’s top lux­ury con­do­minium buy­ers, Chi­nese catch­ing up

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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