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German federal government publications

The Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development is a German government agency with a policy advisory mission that focuses on various aspects of urban development and is a good source of information about trends in the German property market and real estate economy.

We highly recommend their recent English language publication – from January 2012 – Housing and Property Markets in Germany 2011 at a Glance (available as PDF).  The document, which includes much data and many graphic resources, provides a valuable overview of German real estate and, especially, the housing market and gives a basic, multi-faceted impression of the great differences between real estate markets at regional and sub-regional level in Germany.  It addresses, for instance, building activity, housing rents and property prices, property sales transactions and vacancies in commercial and residential sectors.  The report also touches on German attitudes towards property ownership in a European and global context, something perhaps especially interesting to the international investor.  Here, with the institute's and the author's kind permission, are some samples (all from: Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development: Housing and Property Markets in Germany 2011 at a Glance. BBSR-Analysen KOMPAKT 2/2012. Bonn 2012).


Researchers at the institute have mapped changes and trends in residential rents by region in Germany from 2006 to 2010.  The resulting map is a valuable tool for anybody considering an investment in German real estate and especially worthwhile for a prudent investor preparing to do some homework.


Another graphic plots the development of nominal (i.e. not inflation adjusted) income, housing prices and mortgage rates in Germany from 1975 to 2008 against one another.  It nicely shows the divergence between the steadily rising per capital income, which, although not inflation adjusted, by 2008 towers above hardly inflated housing prices.  When one then takes the sunken mortgage interest rates – which today are even lower – into account, these parameters seem to outline market conditions with considerable potential for change and growth.


A lot has been written and said about the fact that Germany did not participate in the recently expired real estate boom.  A simple graphic from the report effectively illustrates the dramatic differences in the development of housing prices during the critical years 2009 and 2010 in various European countries.  It places Germany in a comfortable, if perhaps unexciting, middle zone based on modest growth in housing prices during 2010.


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