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Europe’s safe haven
FEW cities in the world have seen a transformation as profound as Berlin’s over the past 30 years. Following the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the city reinvented itself into the thriving metropolis it is today, famed for its lively nightlife, trendy cafes, contemporary art galleries and booming start-up scene. For those looking for urban living of the highest standard, Berlin is the ultimate destination.
Berlin’s world-renowned cultural offering covers everything from art and gastronomy to high fashion and education. It is the seat of the government yet has the vibrant energy of a young city, a rare combination that has seen the emergence of a strong international economic, art and media scene. Those looking to indulge in the local culture need only to visit one of its many museums, galleries, entertainment venues or even Europe’s most visited zoo, the Zoological Garden.
The growth of Berlin’s economy has further strengthened its position as a leading global city, with many beginning to refer to the capital as the new safe haven of Europe. In addition to a thriving economy, residents can also enjoy an excellent quality of life that has enticed many from around the world – international works, students, company founders and families, to name just a few – to relocate there.
Berlin has 14 international schools, five world- famous educational institutions and approximately 1,500 university partnerships – all with much more affordable tuition fees than those in many other international cities. Exceptionally high standards are prevalent across the capital’s schools, universities and technical colleges, with many study programmes offering the option to be completed in English. Berlin is also a good option for aspiring scientists; it has a particularly strong reputation for the science courses available there.
In the past few years, Berlin has become a magnet for national and international company founders. The city offers the perfect conditions for start-ups to grow: it has a low cost of living; four universities; good infrastructure to support well-connected districts; and buildings from the industrial era alongside red-brick architecture in scenic districts. Each year, Berlin start-ups including Zalando, SoundCloud and DaWanda attract hundreds of millions of euros in venture capital every year – more than any other city in Germany – and contribute to the creation of 17,000 new jobs in the city since 2011.
Supply versus demand
With an average of 50,000 people moving to Berlin annually, there is growing pressure on the housing market. To meet this demand, 20,000 homes need to be built each year. At present, this figure stands at just 10,000. Despite growing construction activity, there remains a significant shortage of new apartments and a 45,000-unit deficit of homes. If population inflows continue unabated, almost 194,000 new residential units will be needed in Berlin by 2030.
For investors, this trend of high demand and low supply coupled with appreciating property values make purchasing in the city a no-brainer. In the past six years, property prices have increased by 73 per cent. However, it is important to note that this rise comes from a relatively low base and subsequently, despite the significant increase, means that prices still lag many other European capital cities including London, Paris and Madrid.
With only 14.9 per cent of all Berliners living in owner-occupied homes, Berlin remains a city of renters. Interestingly, more than one third of the population can afford to finance a home purchase but choose not to. With landlords in Berlin renting their apartments to the same person for an average of five years, this rental culture offers strong opportunity for investment.
Given the demand and stable economic growth, residential and commercial real estate in Berlin looks set to continue to be an attractive investment.
Homage to elegance
A condominium in Berlin is much more affordable than in other cities. The luxury sector is no exception; the cost per square metre of a high- end apartment is four times more in New York than Berlin.
Am Hochmeisterplatz in City West is one such luxury condominium residence currently under construction. Located just 150 metres from the popular shopping boulevard of Kurfuerstendamm, the elegant design of this new building takes inspiration from classical architecture and is a perfect fit for the well-heeled residential area of Berlin’s most prestigious boulevard.
Originally conceived as a connecting road between the Berlin City Palace and the Grunewald hunting lodge for princely horsemen, Kurfuerstendamm’s transformation into the luxury boulevard of today was initiated by Otto von Bismarck at the end of the 19th century. Since then, a plethora of cafes, theatres, shops and the prominent KaDeWe department store have emerged alongside the stately residential buildings, and the migration of popular writers, actors and modern artists to the area has cemented its reputation as a focal point for the arts.
Today, the Charlottenburg district and its world-renowned boulevard are defined by their distinctive cultural diversity and magnificent Gründerzeit architecture. With an array of fashion boutiques, gallerists, international premium flagship stores, and excellent fine dining establishments, City West is undoubtedly one of Berlin’s most desirable places to live – and Am Hochmeisterplatz will be set in the heart of the neighbourhood.
The properties’ south-facing terraces and balconies will offer unobstructed views of the surrounding green spaces and the Hochmeister Church, while nearby public transport and the city highway will enable residents to quickly reach other areas of the city and beyond. But it’s not just the outstanding location that sets Am Hochmeisterplatz apart; each of its luxuriously furnished one-to-six-bedroom flats, ranging from 58 to 248 square metres, are finished to the highest standard with outstanding facilities.
Every flat features generous living and dining areas, underfloor heating, herringbone oak parquet, and master and guest bathrooms equipped with proprietary brands, while some also include a separate utility or dressing room. The exclusive penthouses feature roof terraces and, for those hot summer days, a practical cooling system ensures residents are guaranteed nothing but total comfort. Prices start from 498,000 euros (S$792,994). W