An Investment Tour Of Berlin

8 September 2016

Investment Analyst Ian Sigmund shares his take on Berlin’s prime neighbourhoods

Although this wasn’t my first trip to Berlin, it was definitely my most intensive. From the minute I landed it was easy to see why more and more people are moving to the city. The weather was incredibly cool and a much needed refresher from the sweltering heat and humidity of Hong Kong in the summer.

I had decided off the bat to talk to as many locals as possible to capture their thoughts about the changing dynamic that is underway in Berlin. Taxi drivers in particular were able to provide unique insight into the gentrification of Berlin, which is spreading further outwards from Mitte, Charlottenburg, Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg. They also told me about the challenge of finding apartments to rent in a fast-growing city where housing supply is struggling to meet demand.

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Even though I had less than 60 hours in Berlin, I was determined to visit all the districts where IP Global is investing, as well as areas that, from my research, I thought were likely to see strong capital appreciation.

As I was staying just a short walk away from Ku’Damm, Charlottenburg was first. The abundance of high quality stores, great restaurants and bars really made me understand why this street is compared to the Champs Elysees. Next up was Mitte and as I walked past Checkpoint Charlie, the amount of change that the district has seen since the fall of the wall in ’89 was clearly abundant.

Mitte is most definitely the most visited area by tourists as it encompasses the largest shopping centres in Berlin at Alexanderplatz as well as the Berlin TV Tower and Jewish memorial site. We also briefly stopped by the offices of Rocket Berlin, creators of the apps, Food Panda and Soundcloud who had just acquired a new tower here.

With our most recent project being Richard Quartier in Neukölln, it was essential to see for myself how much the area is changing. It did not disappoint. Around the project itself there were a number of families bringing their kids to the local playground and it exuded a calm and relaxed type of living, the opposite of the already gentrified regions of Mitte and Charlottenburg. This type of living seems much harder to find in inner Berlin and Neukölln and Schöneberg seem to be the last bastions that remain for now in the constantly developing city.

After Neukölln and Mitte, I was eager to see what a middle ground would look like. As Mitte is already fairly developed and Neukölln is still in its early stages of regeneration, Friedrichshain was the perfect middle ground. The Mediaspree next to our development Stralauer Allee is already home to the offices of MTV, Universal, Viva and Allianz with more and more people attracted to the technology and media hub of the capital. The location is perfect both for established as well as young professionals being in close proximity to offices but also offering some fantastic views of the river Spree.

If I had the option it would have been great to extend my stay to check out some of the outer districts in Berlin that unfortunately I wasn’t able to. That being said, the growth potential in this city from my perspective will be huge and I wouldn’t be surprised if in five years’ time as it becomes more difficult to identify value in the centre, like London we begin to look into commuter districts such as Steglitz and Reinickendorf.

Ian Sigmund

Written by Ian Sigmund

Ian is responsible for the sourcing and management of all IP Global investments in Germany with emphasis on the Berlin market. His previous exposure to International Financial Markets at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and China Merchants Fund have provided him with the critical quantitative and analytical skills to identify key strategic Investment locations in the German real estate market.

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