Berlin landlords can attract the successful millennial renter with high quality furnished apartments

• As the millennial rental demographic booms, furnished apartments on short term contracts become highly sought after

• Millennials have high expectations of quality and comfort, as well as convenient city-centre locations

• Buy Berlin announces partnership with furnishing experts David Phillips to help Berlin property investors prepare their apartments to a high spec in order to attract short-term, high quality tenants

• David Phillips, based in the UK, is bringing its successful furnishing business model to the Berlin property market for the first time

Buy Berlin, a Berlin-focused real estate agency that offers a complete and personal service to its international and domestic client base, announced its partnership with furnishing experts David Phillips today.

Buy Berlin has long recognised the changing requirements of the Berlin market, with increasing numbers of millennial workers looking for good quality, short term furnished apartments to suit their lifestyle and expectations.

Darrell Smith, Buy Berlin’s CEO who has operated in the Berlin market for over ten years says, “Berlin, like Germany as a whole, has traditionally offered long term rental agreements which, of course, have their benefits in terms of stability. However, this can inhibit the ability for young workers to easily move when their work and social needs change. We developed our Corporate Furnished Service as a way to provide the right accommodation for this demographic and to encourage more landlords to convert their apartments into millennial-friendly homes whilst securing the best rental value they can.”

The furnishing service is unique in Berlin, with the Buy Berlin / David Phillips partnership being the first of its kind in Germany.

Nick Gill, CEO of David Phillips, says “There is no comparable option available in Germany right now, and we are excited and proud to be partnering with Buy Berlin to deliver a service that is badly needed and long overdue in Europe’s most dynamic and evolving property market. Buy Berlin is a visionary and interruptive company in their field, open to innovation and new ideas, so the partnership is a perfect fit.”

The world continues to evolve rapidly. Many of us have quickly become accustomed to instant news, last minute travel and having everything available at the push of an app.

Moreover, whether we are a landlord or tenant, we are looking for convenience, flexibility and quality when it comes to our choices.

Smith continues, “Partnering with David Phillips means it is now easier than ever for Buy Berlin’s property investors to purchase the right kind of furniture for the Berlin rental market and to secure the best rental value in an increasingly competitive market. We can now offer landlords a unique service in Berlin, supplying high quality furniture packages quickly and installed without fuss.”

It may be a boutique real estate agency compared to some of Germany’s big hitters, but a straightforward service is what has set Buy Berlin apart.

Smith concludes, “We are committed to continually working on behalf of our clients to make property investment as easy and as successful as possible, and this extends to understanding what the best Berlin tenants want. This service sits alongside, and enhances, our entire suite of real estate services and we look forward to both landlords and tenants benefiting from David Phillips’ exceptional furnishing services.”

Berlin Workers seeking Home away from Home

Short term employment contracts on the rise as Berlin booms
Millenial contract workers seeking home comforts face reduced options since AirBnB ban

An interesting survey was recently conducted by a travel expenses company showing that alternative options for business travel were becoming increasingly popular and that Berlin was the fifth most popular business travel destination across all cities in the UK, France and Germany.

Given that we are in a day of disruptive innovation, it is no surprise that workers, as much as tourists, want to stay in less conventional accommodation or locations when they travel and use platforms such as AirBnB to find them.

It might be for the home comforts of a bedroom, lounge and kitchen or to get a better sense of the area in which they’re staying. It may simply be to save money. Unfortunately for Berlin, these options have been on the decline since the restrictions brought in last year, making it harder for short term contractors looking for a home away from home.

There is a real possibility that the city of Berlin will become the victim of this change. It’s a burgeoning city with falling unemployment, a rising population, strong educational facilities and significant investment into the city’s infrastructure. The tech companies are arriving and booming, new industries are opening up; as a united city it is still in its infancy, but we mustn’t forget that it is a capital city and to fuel its growth it needs to provide flexible solutions to maintain social mobility and give entrepreneurial companies the opportunity to grow.

This means, as much as anything, providing affordable accommodation for short term workers, often drafted in to fill skills gaps for specific projects or corporate objectives. The recent survey made it clear that whilst hotels were still popular, the demand for alternatives from Millenials in particular, is driving a booming market in alternative business accommodation.

Hotels, as much as they try to evolve, still lack basic home comforts. Hotels will forever sit firmly on the side of tourism and short-term travel, not residence, and many young contract workers want to feel as if they are living in the real Berlin, in a comfortable apartment that has been furnished like home, with their own food in the fridge, neighbours to speak to and local amenities to enjoy. If Berlin doesn’t fill the gap in supply for such accommodation, Berlin’s industries will struggle to bring in the talent they need for the time they need it. Six months of living in a hotel is not what many workers want these days, not to mention the exorbitant cost for the company.

Companies like AirBnB have launched into business travel successfully but Berlin’s restrictions are making it harder for the city’s companies to house short term workers. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that many landlords are seemingly unaware of the option available to them to provide short term, furnished accommodation to the city’s workers through alternative means, such as Buy Berlin’s Corporate Furnished Service.

If landlords fully furnish their apartments, they can be rented out to companies seeking fixed, short term rental contracts for their employees. The tenancy agreement is different to your standard tenancy, allowing landlords to have more control over their property and the rental price. It is a highly successful model that benefits all parties involved and is proving particularly popular in city centre districts and those located near to major project hubs, such as the airport.

BuyBerlin

Buy Berlin Investments is an independent property company that provides turnkey services to global investors, both individual and institutional, who wish to purchase real estate in Germany’s capital city, Berlin.

Established over ten years ago, the company recently expanded into Asia with the opening of its Hong Kong office, providing on the ground customer service in English, German and Chinese.

BuyBerlin supports its clients every step of the way – it seeks the very best properties, assists investors through the intricacies of financing, taxation and German legalities, and provides ongoing asset management in the form of property management, rentals, furnishings and eventual resale.

Berlin’s AirBnB landlords find alternative option for lettings

Corporate furnished letting service is ideal for landlords with city centre apartments affected by the crackdown on short term rentals
Tenancy contracts from three months plus higher yields make this an attractive alternative


It has been nearly nine months since the Berlin government initiated a ban on the majority of short term rentals in the country’s capital. The ban was deemed necessary to help manage what was seen to be Berlin’s escalating rental prices and to support the city’s hotel industry, for which the likes of AirBnB and Wimdu were getting the blame.

With approximately 12,000 rooms available at the time, the vast majority were concentrated in the most popular districts of Berlin, the same areas where many short term workers seek convenient apartments whist working in the city.

Darrell Smith, founder and director of estate agency Buy Berlin, explains that workers who are forced to stay in hotels or serviced apartments for the duration of their contract are the ones suffering the most from this change. “Having a place to stay that feels like home when you’re working in different cities around the world is what online platforms such as AirBnB were so effective at supplying. Despite the new legislation, these apartments can still be made available. What many landlords do not realise is that they can offer their furnished apartments to professional tenants on a short-term basis without facing the rental price restrictions of long-term contracts and can earn considerably more income as a result.”

There are significant benefits to this model; landlords can charge whatever rent they feel is appropriate. As an example, a typical one bedroom apartment of 55 square metres would generate EUR1,375 per month, nearly double what an equivalent unfurnished apartment would fetch. The contracts can be from three months to one year and the rent is packaged with a mandatory monthly clean, which the tenant must pay for.

Buy Berlin has seen a sharp increase in enquiries for corporate lets as Berlin continues to grow as an economic powerhouse, drawing in more business and more people. Smith continues, “Expatriates are looking for centrally located properties which are renovated or in very good condition and vary in size from 30 square metres to 100 square metres. Typically they work for multinational companies (CAC 40, Fortune 500) that often pay the rent for the tenants. We also work with relocation companies on behalf of their clients, and film companies are frequently in contact given that Babelsburg film studio is so near to Berlin.”

The most popular apartments are those found in the most centrally located districts such as Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf.

Berlin’s AirBnB Vermieter finden eine Alternative

Möblierter Vermietungsservice für Berufstätige ist ideal für Vermieter mit City-Center-Wohnungen, die von der Regulierung kurzfristiger Vermietungen betroffen sind.
Mietverträge ab drei Monaten und höhere Erträge machen dies zu einer attraktiven Alternative.


Es ist nun fast neun Monate her, seitdem die Berliner Regierung ein Verbot fast aller kurzfristigen Vermietungen in der Bundeshauptstadt ausgesprochen hat (Zweckentfremdungsgesetz). Dieses Verbot wurde als notwendig angesehen, um dabei zu helfen, die Hotelindustrie der Stadt zu stützen und die Berliner Mietpreise zu regulieren. Hierbei wurde in der Hauptsache die Nutzung von bereits jetzt schon zu knappen Wohnraum für kurzfristige Vermietungen, z.B. an Touristen unterbunden, für deren Eskalation unter anderem die Vermietungsportale AirBnB und Wimdu mitverantwortlich gemacht wurden. Das große Ziel dieses Gesetzes soll sein, den vorhandenen Wohnraum auch allen Mietern langfristig zur Verfügung zu stellen, um so den chronischen Wohnraummangel in Berlin einzudämmen.

Die überwiegende Mehrheit der zur damaligen Zeit etwa 12.000 verfügbaren Zimmer konzentrierte sich auf die beliebtesten Bezirke Berlins und wurde größtenteils an Touristen vermietet. Diese Gebiete sind die Gleichen, in denen viele Pendler möblierte Wohnungen während ihrer Beschäftigung in der Stadt suchen.

Darrell Smith, Gründer und Direktor des Immobilienbüros BuyBerlin Investments, erklärt, dass Berufstätige, die für die Dauer ihres Arbeitsverhältnisses gezwungen sind, in Hotels oder möblierten Wohnungen unterzukommen, diejenigen sind, die am meisten unter dieser Veränderung leiden. “Einen Raum zu haben, der sich wie ein zu Hause anfühlt, wenn man in verschiedenen Städten auf der ganzen Welt arbeitet, ist, was Online-Plattformen wie AirBnB so gezielt anbieten können. Trotz der neuen Gesetzgebung können diese Wohnungen noch verfügbar gemacht werden. Was viele Vermieter nicht wissen, ist, dass sie deutlich mehr Einnahmen erzielen können, indem sie ihre möblierten Wohnungen kurzfristig berufstätigen Mietern anbieten, ohne dabei von Mietpreisbeschränkungen langfristiger Verträge betroffen zu sein.”

Es gibt erhebliche Vorteile für dieses Modell, unter anderem können Vermieter jegliche Miete verlangen, die sie als angemessen betrachten. Als Beispiel würde eine typische Ein-Zimmer-Wohnung mit einem 55m² Schlafzimmer EUR 1.375,00 pro Monat Miete kosten; fast doppelt so viel als eine gleichwertige unmöblierte Wohnung kosten würde. Die Verträge können von drei Monaten bis zu einem Jahr dauern und der Mietvertrag kann auch eventuelle Service-Leistungen, wie z.B. eine obligatorische monatliche Wohnungsreinigung, für die der Mieter zu zahlen hat, enthalten.

BuyBerlin Investments verzeichnet einen starken Anstieg von Anfragen für Vermietungen an Berufstätige, während Berlin weiterhin als wirtschaftliches Zentrum wächst, welches immer mehr Unternehmen und Menschen anzieht. Smith fährt fort: “Auch Auswanderer suchen nach zentral gelegenen Immobilien, die renoviert oder in sehr gutem Zustand sind und in der Größe zwischen 30m² bis 100m² variieren. Meist arbeiten diese für multinationale Unternehmen (CAC 40, Fortune 500), die oft die Miete für Ihre auswärtigen Angestellten zahlen. Wir arbeiten hier z.B. mit Umsiedlungsgesellschaften, die im Namen ihrer Kunden agieren, aber auch Filmfirmen sind häufig mit uns in Kontakt, da das Babelsberger Filmstudio so nah an Berlin ist.”

Die beliebtesten Appartements liegen in den zentral gelegenen Bezirken wie Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Charlottenburg oder Wilmersdorf.

Berlin identified as the top five ‘opportunity’ markets for expansion of the serviced apartment sector across Europe

Dublin ranked Globally for serviced apartment sector

International real estate advisor, Savills have identified Dublin, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Berlin and Barcelona as the top five ‘opportunity’ markets for expansion of the serviced apartment (also known as the ‘Extended Stay’) sector across Europe.

Dublin, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Berlin and Barcelona were all ranked highly due to them having sizeable corporate and overseas visitor markets with strong outlook in terms of GDP and employment growth. But more importantly they also had very constrained stock levels relative to their overnight visitor market.

According to Savills, €416.5m was invested into Europe’s Extended Stay sector in 2015, a year-on-year increase of 32.9%.

The majority share (90%) was invested into the UK, with Germany (7%), Switzerland (2%) and Belgium (1%) at the forefront of activity within what is a relatively immature asset class on the continent.

In order to identify the new opportunity markets for this sector, the Savills research team analysed the following factors within a matrix of 35 European cities – the presence of large corporates, GDP and employment growth forecasts and overnight visitor market and supply drivers (current stock relative to overnight visitor including that of hotels) for the sector.

Commercial research director at Savills, Marie Hickey says, “We anticipate that evolving consumer trends of millennial business travellers and the success of AirBnB in highlighting alternative accommodation options, such as Extended Stay, across Europe will help the sector further tap into existing unmet demand.”

Source: Link to the Business World’s article

Rent rises turning investors to German property, says agency

As demand for German property shifts with more renters looking to buy, international investors are also showing more interest in the market, says a top overseas agency.

With rents in Berlin rising 9% in and low purchase options of around €100,000, there is interest from worldwide buy-to-let investment, says Property Frontiers.

“We’re experiencing a real upturn in demand from investors for property in Germany and in particular in the capital. As the Berlin market shifts its focus, international investors are seeing a new and realistic exit strategy open up before them. Combined with the stability of Germany as an investment prospect, Berlin has quickly become one of the most exciting residential property investment destinations in Europe.”

Germany – and in particular Berlin – has been a nation of renters for decades. Just 18% of the city’s residents are owner-occupiers due to the housing subsidy legacy of the old East German government, according to agent, Buy Berlin.

Across the country, ownership remains low, with only around half of Germans owning a home. The only country with a lower home ownership rate in Europe is Switzerland.

A national shift in perspective means increasing numbers of renters are becoming buyers, giving the property market a new lease of life.

Berlin2As the housing market takes on a new dynamic, buy-to-let properties like Stadtpark Steglitz, pictured,  have become increasingly appealing, with the more active market offering a realistic exit strategy says Frontiers’ Ray Withers. Studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments there start from €109,600, with gross yields of up to 5.6%.Rent rises are one of the factors behind the new German interest in buying property. According to Jones Lang LaSalle, rents in Berlin have risen from €5.50 per square metre in 2005 to €9 per square metre in 2014. From 2013 to 2014 alone, rents rose by more than 9%. While Berlin has responded by introducing a rent cap, many tenants have already had their heads turned by the prospect of property ownership.

Continuing low interest rates across Europe and Eurozone-related uncertainties have also caused many Germans to look at buying property, as they seek out the best ways to make their savings work for them in this post-Great Recession world.

Andrew Groom, of JLL, says, “We’re at the start of a re-pricing period of anywhere between two to five years. Prices in Germany have tended to be stable for long periods of time, and have then been driven by bigger macro-economic political events. We’re going through a macro-economic situation now, which is driving Germans back into bricks and mortar.”
Read more at http://www.opp.today/rent-rises-turning-investors-to-german-property-says-agency/#w67AtTjRAd4L7IIu.99

Berlin becomes first German city to make rent cap a reality

Berlin has become the first city in Germany in which rent-control legislation has come into force in a bid to put the breaks on some of the fastest rising rents in Europe.

From Monday, landlords in the capital will be barred from increasing rents by more than 10% above the local average. Such controls were already in place for existing tenants but have now been extended to new contracts.

“The rent ceiling is very important for Berlin because the difference between the rent paid in existing contracts and new contracts is so high,” said Reiner Wild, managing director of the Berlin Tenants’ Association. “The other problem is that we have 40,000 more inhabitants per year. Because of this situation the housing market is very strong.”

Berlin is pioneering the rent cap after the national parliament approved the law, aimed at areas with housing shortages, in March. Berliners say flat-hunting is becoming increasingly competitive.

“We were looking for the best part of a year,” said Vlasis Tritakis, a student. He, his partner Sofia and their 18-month-old son moved out of a flat-share into a one-bedroomed apartment in the district of Kreuzberg in April.

But sooner or later they will have to find a place big enough for his son to have a room of his own. They say they don’t stand much of a chance against competition from potential tenants with better finances. “I don’t know how we will do it,” said Tritakis.

Although rents are still low compared with other European capitals, Wild says it is vital to keep the city affordable for lower-income residents. “We don’t want a situation like in London or Paris,” said Wild. “The reality in Paris or London is that people with low income have to live in the further-out districts of the city.” (read more)

Germany to impose tougher rent control as home prices rise

Legislation to toughen rent control passed its final hurdle Friday as German home prices continued to rise.
The centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) had insisted on the new restrictions as part of its conditions for joining a coalition in 2013 to back Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The upper chamber of parliament approved the bill, which passed the lower chamber earlier this month with a large majority.

The majority of Germans rent apartments. In Munich, rated the most expensive German city to live, one-bedroom apartments for less than 1,000 euros (1,100 dollars) monthly are almost impossible to find.

The rising value of homes has been pushing rents up.

Late last year, Deutsche Bank estimated that German residential real estate prices had risen 20 per cent in the past five years overall, while prices in big cities, where land availability is limited, had risen by more than 40 per cent.

Germany already has rent control, but the new law will tighten loopholes from June, allowing state governments to declare stress zones where landlords will be forbidden to re-let property at per-square-metre rents exceeding 110 per cent of the rents in nearby streets.

Source – http://en.europeonline-magazine.eu/germany-to-impose-tougher-rent-control-as-home-prices-rise_385101.html

Germany Agrees New Home Rent Controls as Housing Remains Tight

Germany’s governing parties agreed to terms for new rent control laws aimed at keeping housing in large cities affordable, addressing a dispute that started after the 2013 national election.

The proposed law caps rents for existing apartments at 10 percent above the local average in areas where the housing market is deemed to be tight. It doesn’t apply to newly built homes. Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its Social Democrats coalition partner will send the measure to parliament next week, Volker Kauder, CDU’s parliamentary chief, told reporters Wednesday.

“We’re creating a fair balance between the interests of landlords and tenants,” German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement. “We want to foster and maintain the high appetite for investment on the residential market.”

Rents in Germany’s largest cities are rising as developers try to reduce a housing shortage caused by migration into cities and a long slump in construction. In Berlin, rents have gained more than 30 percent in the past three years, according to data compiled by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

The proposed law will also make it mandatory for real estate brokers to be paid by the person who hired them. Currently, brokers can decide who to charge, which means that tenants usually foot the bill even when the broker is hired by the landlord.

Developers and landlords had lobbied to exclude newly built homes from the law, arguing that rent caps would stifle construction.

Source – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-25/germany-agrees-new-home-rent-controls-as-housing-remains-tight

In Germany, Renters’ Rights Trump Guest Bathrooms

As the country follows France with hardline protections for lower-income renters, new laws prohibit some property upgrades. And for many Germans, that’s just fine.

While Paris’ radical new housing laws have been attracting attention, France’s capital isn’t the only city in Europe that’s been taking legal action to stop social displacement and gentrification. Across Germany, cities are increasingly bringing in rules that aim to ensure that rising rents in desirable neighborhoods don’t push working class residents out of their homes. Called milieuschutz—loosely translatable as “community defense”—these laws are drawing the battle lines in what might seem the most improbable place for an urban-development standoff: the bathroom.

Essentially, milieuschutz is a law to prevent a neighborhood’s real estate from getting too fancy. In the areas earmarked for protection, owners are either restricted or banned outright from adding new balconies, installing under-floor heating, or carving out guest bathrooms. They’re also not allowed to knock two smaller apartments together to form one big one. Decided on a street-by-street basis at local rather than national level, these laws aren’t actually that new: Hamburg first experimented with them in 1972, Munich in 1987. What is novel, however, is their rapid spread across Germany at a time when inner-urban real-estate prices are going through the roof. Berlin now has 18 zones protected by the laws, and has just doubled one in size. Last month, Munich introduced one more district, while Frankfurt pushed the boat out with a total of six new protection zones spreading across the city’s denser districts. The social-engineering intention is clear. As Frankfurt’s mayor Olaf Cunitz baldly puts it, “Using this urbanist tool, we want to put a brake on upgrading and displacement and thus secure existing living space.”

(Full Story – http://www.citylab.com/housing/2015/01/in-germany-renters-rights-trump-guest-bathrooms/384219/)

Spiraling Rents in Munich Mean Bonus to Attract Teachers

Munich’s Herz-Jesu kindergarten needed nine months and 9,000 euros ($11,200) of ads to find a new teacher. In the meantime, it cut opening hours and relied on a 74-year-old nun to keep running.

As Germany’s fastest-growing city makes good on a pledge to build 62 daycare facilities, it’s struggling to fill them with staff, who are having a tough time paying spiraling rents.

The shortage of preschool places, along with housing, is among the costs Muencheners are paying for a boom that has made their city the country’s most expensive. An attempt to ease the bottleneck by offering childcare workers a 200 euro-a-month supplement backfired: Thousands more city employees demanded similar payments, which officials have rejected as too costly. (Full Article – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-15/spiraling-rents-in-munich-mean-bonus-to-attract-teachers.html)