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Accentro Homeownership Report 2013: Germany’s Little League Picks up the Pace

  • 130,327 apartments sold in major German cities in 2012

  • 22.1 billion euros in sales (+4.2 percent year on year)

  • Halle (Saale), Fürth and Augsburg the surprise winners

Berlin, 19 September 2013

Germany’s 82 most populous residential markets generated a turnover of 22.1 billion euros in 2012, which implies an increase by 4.2 percent year on year. All things considered, a total of 130,327 flats were sold, just 1.1 percent fewer than during the banner year 2011. This is the upshot of the 2013 Accentro Homeownership Report, which is based on the analysis of surveyor committee data. “While last year’s transaction figures failed to top the record result of the previous year, the sound results and the steep increase in turnover suggests a sustained positive trend on German housing markets,” said Jacopo Mingazzini, Managing Director of Accentro GmbH.

Berlin Shines while Munich is Treading Water

Germany’s largest housing market, the one in Berlin, registered a 6.7 percent year-on-year increase in sales figures. A total of 22,568 apartments changed hands in the nation’s capital. Runner-up in the absolute sales ranking was Munich with 13,160 units (including flying freehold units). As it were, the Bavarian state capital suffered a 12.4-percent dip (-1,864 residential units) year on year. Munich also registered a decline in turnover (-5.8 percent down to 3.8 billion euros). Nonetheless, the city defended its lead position in this category. Yet the gap to Berlin, which ranks second (2012: +12.5 percent to 3.6 billion euros), is narrowing – as recently as last year, it totalled 822 million euros. “Munich shows a strained supply side. While homeownership in the city is as popular as ever, demand simply went unmet last year. If the trend continues along the same lines this year, Berlin will overtake Munich in terms of turnover for the first time,” said Mingazzini.

That said, Munich is not the only one among the country’s “Big Seven” cities to report regressive sales. Indeed, Frankfurt was the only city to increase last year’s result and to continue its trend (+11.1 percent, up to 4,493 residential units sold in 2012). Stuttgart (-3.0 percent), Hamburg (-5.8 percent), Cologne (-7.9 percent), and Düsseldorf (-22.4 percent) all registered a downtrend, in some cases a steep one. For the city state of Hamburg it is already the second dip in as many years: The 2012 Accentro Homeownership Report showed a two-percent decline in sales for the metropolis.

Surprise Winners in Tier Two

On the whole, sales in Germany’s “Big Seven” were down by nearly 2,000 flats compared to the previous year. By contrast, Germany’s not-quite-as-big major cities were able to maintain or even improve their transaction volumes year on year. Top performers were Halle (Saale), Fürth, and Augsburg. Halle saw its sales increase by 131 percent, or by 270 units to a total of 624 flats sold. Augsburg, a city for which no figures were quoted in the previous report, sold 3,207 units, and currently ranks tenth in the category “Number of sales,” ahead of Düsseldorf. When considering the size of Augsburg, the city actually makes third place with 11.86 sales for every 1,000 residents. This leader in this category is Fürth near Nuremberg with 13.25 sales per 1,000 residents, which implies an astounding 59-percent increase year on year. “The significance of homeownership across Germany’s regions has surged in recent years. Not just the cities in southern Germany, which have traditionally had a high homeownership rate, are reporting a clear upward trend. For buyers, it is a good way to dodge the rent hikes in their cities and to provide security for their retirement,” explained Mingazzini.

2013 – Growth Trend with Growing Pains

Accentro’s Managing Director Jacopo Mingazzini expects Germany’s 82 biggest cities to do well in the ongoing year, too, as far as transactions and sales go. Then again, the transaction volume might be slowed by the contracting supply side. “The housing market of 2013 is doubtlessly paced by the fact that this is an election year. Some of the policy instruments, such as the planned rent control and the real estate transfer tax hikes, have scared off private and institutional investors,” said Mingazzini, adding that the reticence will be felt on the residential construction side in the coming years. In Munich, for instance, the year 2012 brought a first decline in the number of sales in the new construction segment (including flying freehold units) by 14.6 percent down to 4,085 flats. Cities like Regensburg (+35.2 percent, totalling 1,056 signings) and Dresden (+14.3 percent, totalling 1,528 signings), by contrast, were able to raise their transaction figures in the new completions segment. “Homeownership remains important in 2013. The financing fundamentals remain optimal then as now, as the level of interest rates are on an all-time low. But the construction of new homes must gather momentum in order to meet the housing demand,” commented Mingazzini.

About the Accentro Homeownership Report

The Homeownership Report is published by Accentro GmbH in its sixth edition this year. The analysis is based on residential property sales transacted in Germany’s 82 major cities during the reporting year. Its ability to mine the data of the surveyor committees sets this report radically apart from similar publications that tend to be based on expert assessments or the evaluation of quotes.

About Accentro

Accentro is the leading service provider in Germany’s housing privatisation business. In 2012, the company retailed 1,137 condominiums among private investors. The privatisation specialist focuses primarily on the capital city Berlin. Accentro is a subsidiary of Estavis AG, a listed residential property group domiciled in Berlin.


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