Why Germany appeals to late-cycle Real Estate Investors

In the annual survey of INREV members, Germany emerged as their primary investment target for 2019. Christine Fritz of KGAL looks at what it is about the German economy and its real estate market that makes it so attractive.

The German love of Ordnung (order) and how that informs its legal system and business world may mean that the country will never rank as one of the world’s most exciting environments, but for investors it is this very stability which appeals at a time of global political and social uncertainty.

Thrift and prudent saving are powerful influences on the German mind-set - in good times and bad. The average household savings rate has remained relatively unchanged at 10% - despite a decade of essentially negative interest rates. Record low unemployment and a preference for 15 year-plus fixed-rate mortgages1 mean that neither interest rate increases or a choppy global economy are expected to cause widespread strife in German household budgets.

And solid budgets – whether at the family or national level – are great news for property returns. This fiscal discipline positively impacts on consumer spending patterns and underpins returns from property asset classes such as retail, logistics or residential. During the global economic crisis, German house prices - instead of crashing - showed steady increases. Customer spending and retail rents saw at most a slight dip, but by 2012 had completely recovered any lost ground.

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