Sustained Upward Trend: Revenues from Apartment Sales Cross the Mark of 36 Billion Euros
Rising prices ensure higher revenues despite lower number of units sold
Berlin remains best-selling German city
Eastern German large cities keep gaining ground: Leipzig’s revenue tops one billion euros
Average apartment price now at 225,242 euros, and at 429,007 euros in the “Big 7”
Berlin, 7 October 2021 – Revenues from apartment sales continued to rise in 2020, even though the number of condominiums sold was slightly lower than in the previous year. This is the result of the ACCENTRO Homeownership Report 2021 that was compiled by ACCENTRO Real Estate AG in collaboration with the German Economic Institute (IW). Based on a special analysis, the team of Prof. Dr. Michael Voigtländer also studied the estimated costs of energy efficiency measures that will be required to meet the climate targets that the German Government set for the country’s building stock.
The homeownership report, now in its 14th edition, is the only German publication that aggregates and interprets the data of municipal property valuation committees on apartment sales in all major German cities. In this respect, the report sets itself apart from similar publications that tend to rely on expert appraisals or the evaluation of supply-side data.
Revenues grew by 3.3 percent to a total of 36.027 billion euros in 2020. The upward trend is attributable to rising sales prices. The fastest growth in revenues was reported from Jena (+69.3 %) and Osnabrück (+65 %). The mid-size cities of Oldenburg, Heidelberg and Remscheid complete the top 5 in terms of fastest revenue growth. Overall, revenues increased in 55 of the 81 cities surveyed.
“Buy-to-let investors are particularly drawn to the mid-size cities. What matters, aside from sound economic conditions, is not least that entry prices and price-to-rent ratios are lower here than in the Big 7 cities,” explained Lars Schriewer, CEO of ACCENTRO Real Estate AG. “It is a trend that has emerged since 2010.”
Indeed, there is not a single metropolis among the top 10 cities in terms of revenue growth since 2010, while the list does include many eastern German mid-size cities, such as Halle (Saale), Chemnitz, Gera or Rostock.
A modest increase in transactions was observed in 30 cities. Most of these are located in eastern Germany. The biggest gains in absolute figures were registered in Leipzig (+702 sales, up to a total of 5,217 transactions) and Chemnitz (+228).
At the same time, the scarcity of development land and available condominiums is being felt. In the 81 cities surveyed, a total of 123,299 apartments changed hands in 2020, which represents a moderate decline by 5,627 apartments or around 4.4 percent year on year. Once again, the cities with the highest number of sales were Berlin (16,473), Munich (9,845) and Hamburg (6,195). These three cities alone account for 26.4 percent of all sales. Cologne, Frankfurt am Main and Stuttgart placed fourth, fifth, and sixth in the ranking. The steepest drop was registered in Frankfurt am Main (-17.7 %), followed by Cologne (-17.5 %) and Berlin (-11.0 %).
“This latest ACCENTRO Homeownership Report underlines the stability of the German housing market. It suffered no Covid-19 shock – and it is striking to note that the number of cities where more than 1,000 apartments were sold remains almost the same with 33, despite the general drop in the number of sales. This is surely related to the fact that people attach greater importance to their homes now. Especially during the lockdown, many people have realised how important it is to have a nice and spacious home,” elaborated Prof. Dr. Michael Voigtländer, Head of the Financial Markets and Real Estate Markets Competence Unit at the IW Institute, who once again masterminded the data collection.
“The unchecked price growth for homeownership more than made up for the modest dip in apartment sales. For homeowners, the year 2020 was defined by rising rents and prices,” added Lars Schriewer.
Between 2019 and 2020, the average price tag of a condominium rose to 225,242 euros, which implies an increase by 10.2 percent. At 10.8 percent, the growth in the “Big 7” cities was even faster, with an average selling price of 429,007 euros.
Unlike other rankings of the report, the “Big 7” cities top the list as far as the number of sales is concerned. Despite the strong relative decline (-11.0 %), Berlin still leads the field with the largest number of sales. Weighing in with sales worth 6.03 billion euros, the national capital not only boasted the highest revenues but also accounted for nearly one sixth of the sales total nationwide. Yet as early as last year, Munich started to close in on the top spot. The city registered a revenue increase by 2.9 percent last year, even if this falls well short of the 16.6-percent surge in 2019. Still, its total revenues rose to 5.71 billion euros, further narrowing the gap to Berlin. Revenues in general increased in all of the 81 cities. The total value of the condominiums traded in 2020 exceeds 36 billion euros. This implies an increase by more than 3.3 percent.
A total of 24,669 new-build units were sold in 2020, the cities with the highest number of sales being Berlin (3,378), Munich (2,720) and Hamburg (1,479). This translates into a year-on-year decrease by 9 percent. The drop was particularly steep in Berlin at -26.7 percent. The figures are actually in line with the long-term downward trend in the “Big 7” cities. “The lack of development land is particularly acute in the metropolises while bureaucratic hurdles hamper the construction process. But incoming migration ensures that demand remains strong,” explained Lars Schriewer.
A total of 9,600 apartments changed hands in the Germany’s metropolises in 2020 – down from over 15,000 units sold there in 2015. That being said, the number of new-build sales did not decline everywhere. Increases were registered in no less than 35 of the 81 cities studied. Oldenburg was the growth leader with an increase of 236 sales, trailed by Münster (+244), Heidelberg (+144) and Ludwigshafen (+128). New-build buyers have warmed to eastern German cities in particular, as a look at the ratio of sales per 1,000 residents reveals. Chemnitz, already in third place in 2019, moved to the top of the list in 2020 with 8.64 transactions per 1,000 residents, followed by Leipzig (8.62). The only metropolis among the ten fastest selling cities is Munich with 6.62 sales per 1,000 residents.
“Although the total number of sales declined, revenues continued to grow in 2020. The growth is particularly evident in the mid-size cities and the suburbs of Germany’s metropolises. Then again, the ‘Big -7’ cities still stand out because each of them generates more than one billion euros a year in condominium sales. Leipzig joined this exclusive club for the first time this year, further consolidating the city’s reputation as an investment destination,” elaborated Lars Schriewer.
Within the framework of its climate protection plans, the German Government has raised the bar for the buildings sector, too. To achieve a carbon-neutral building stock by 2050, a target mark of 70 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CDE) has been set for the year 2030. Yet in 2020, the CDE output still stood at 118 million tons. The IW predicts that the necessary energy efficiency measures will require more than 500 billion euros in capital expenditures between now and 2050. Additional capital expenditures toward maintenance and quality upgrades of property holdings will bring the investment total required until 2050 up to 1.3 trillion euros, which corresponds to around 43 billion euros annually. So far, only about 40 percent of the necessary sums are being invested.
“The sector is already moving in the direction of increased energy efficiency. Given the tightened climate protection requirements in the buildings sector, the pressure to take action will intensify,” declared Prof. Dr. Michael Voigtländer.
“The real estate industry and society at large will have to invest enormous amounts of money to achieve the climate targets in the buildings sector. Another factor hampering the necessary energy efficiency measures in many cities is the shortage of skilled labour,” added Lars Schriewer.
Calculations done by the Competence Centre for Securing Skilled Workers (KOFA) at the German Economic Institute (IW) revealed that only 25 percent of the jobs available in HVAC and sanitary engineering can be filled at present. As of 30 June 2021, there were more than 15,000 open positions. Over 17,000 positions in electrical site engineering are vacant, whereas 82 percent of the jobs in refrigeration engineering remain unfilled. These figures refer to staff qualified as skilled workers. For companies seeking to hire expert level staff, meaning either master craftsmen or at least professionals with long-term experience, the stats look bleaker yet. Only 13 percent of the open positions in HVAC and sanitary engineering are filled.
This year’s edition marks the fourteenth time that ACCENTRO Real Estate AG published its Homeownership Report. This year, the homeownership report was once again compiled in collaboration with the German Economic Institute (IW). The analysis is based on residential property sales transacted in all of Germany’s 81 major cities during the reporting year of 2020. A significant distinction that sets the report apart from similar publications, most of which rely on expert appraisals or on analyses of supply-side data, is that it draws on the data of the cities’ property valuation committees. The report consists of two different parts. While the first part compares the various housing markets, using a variety of criteria, the second part breaks down the market data for each of the 81 cities studied. The findings of the ACCENTRO Homeownership Report on Germany’s seven most populous cities and the trends of the past twelve years are also available online, and may be retrieved in the form of selective drilldowns: www.accentro.de
ACCENTRO Real Estate AG is a residential property investor and Germany’s market leader in housing privatisations. Its real estate portfolio consisted of around 5,200 units as of 31 December 2020. In addition to Berlin, regional focal points include East German cities and conurbations, as well as the Rhine-Ruhr metro region and Bavaria. The business activity of ACCENTRO comprises four core divisions. These are the tenant-sensitive retailing of apartments to owner-occupiers and private buy-to-let investors, the sale of real estate portfolios to institutional investors, the set-up and management of a proprietary real estate portfolio, and third-party apartment marketing for property asset holders, investors and developers. The shares of ACCENTRO Real Estate AG are listed on the Prime Standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (German securities code number WKN: A0KFKB, ISIN: DE000A0KFKB3). www.accentro.ag
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