Although potential buyers inspect properties far more carefully than they used to and ignore over-priced offers, most real estate sells quicker than in the past. On average, it takes two to four months to sell stock property in Hamburg if it is offered at a fair market price. In 2014 prices charted a variety of courses, depending on region and segment. “Unlike the relative slowing of rent increases, there was an appreciable rise in the top prices being paid for individual apartments and single family homes in 2014, particularly in the Central and Alster sub-markets,” says Lars Seidel
, managing director of Grossmann & Berger’s residential properties unit, summarizing the main findings of the Company’s own housing survey.
Apartments: Harvestehude commands top prices
In 2014, as in previous years, the top attainable prices per square metre for stock apartments in Harvestehude were far ahead of rates in other districts of the city. Prices of 12,000 €/m² of living space were paid, a massive increase of 2,000 €/m² and the biggest rise in this sector. “A penthouse apartment on Harvestehuder Weg can fetch as much as 16,000 €/m² of living space,” remarks Seidel
. In HafenCity, Uhlenhorst and Winterhude the top prices obtainable per square metre of living space were likewise high, at 10,000 €/m². The next highest increases in price per square metre of living space were registered in Winterhude, Hoheluft East and Poppenbüttel (+ €1,000), in Finkenwerder and Hausbruch (+ € 800) and in Neugraben-Fischbek (+ €600). “In Hamm and Horn the top purchase prices for individual apartments also rose by a remarkable € 400, to 2,000 €/m² of living space. The Senate of Hamburg is now taking an interest in the east of the city, with a noticeable and growing impact on the market,” says Seidel.
Apartments: South and South East have the lowest purchase prices
At the other end of the price range, the lowest square-metre prices for individual apartments in Wilhelmsburg were 1,100 €/m² of living space, and in Wilstorf the figure was 1,250 €/m². “The upbeat mood on the real estate market in Wilhelmsburg that accompanied the IBA and IGS building and garden exhibitions is now fading, and Hamburg’s possible bid to host the 2024 or 2028 Olympics has not yet had any effect. Therefore the starting prices for apartments in Wilhelmsburg have not changed from 2013 to 2014,” remarks Seidel
. In Sinstorf and Hamm/Horn (1,300 €/m² of living space) and in Neugraben-Fischbek, Marmstorf, Billstedt/Jenfeld, Lohbrügge, Neuallermöhe and Tonndorf (1,400 €/m² of living space) the purchase prices for stock apartments were also relatively low.
Houses: Top prices increased most in Marienthal
Harvestehude also ranks first in the single family house sector, with top purchase prices of € 11.0m, leaving Winterhude trailing far behind with top prices of € 6.0m. “This year we have seen prices range between € 5.0m and € 5.5m for realistically valued houses in the classic locations near the Alster Lakes - Rotherbaum, Uhlenhorst and Eppendorf - and between € 3.4m and € 3.5m in the Elbe-side suburbs Othmarschen, Nienstedten and Blankenese,” says Seidel
. The biggest rises in the maximum prices, in euros, paid for houses were as follows: +400,000 in Marienthal, +300,000 in Hoheluft East and + 200,000 in Rotherbaum and Uhlenhorst.
Houses: most affordable in Finkenwerder
Grossmann & Berger’s perception is that in 2014 the lowest starting price for a single-family house was € 120,000 in Finkenwerder. The next-highest starting prices were € 180,000 in Neugraben-Fischbek and € 190,000 in Langenbek. “Now that areas in Neugraben-Fischbek, e.g. ‘Fischbeker Heidbrook’ and ‘Vogelkamp’, have been designated for development with a planned total of 2,300 residential units, we expect the lowest asking prices in this district to start rising,” comments Seidel
. In 2014 the lowest purchase prices for houses in Wilstorf were € 200,000, and slightly above this mark in Sinstorf, Rönneburg, Hausbruch and Hamm/Horn.
Thumbs up for energy efficiency but down for size
There was considerable demand for real estate in 2014, but not all types of property were being sought. Large country houses standing in big grounds outside Hamburg were less in demand; instead, potential buyers preferred energy efficient properties with good transport links into Hamburg. Many buyers stressed their desire for a train station or bus stop in the immediate neighbourhood. “Looking beyond the purchase price of the property, everything that will help save money in the short to medium term, especially in view of steep rises in service charges, is currently very important to buyers,” says Seidel.
Apart from a few clouds on the economic horizon and the cap on permissible rent increases that will probably come into effect during 2015, the other parameters that define Hamburg’s market for stock residential real estate are likely to remain practically unchanged. Despite increased construction activity, the number of new homes coming onto the market will not meet demand for properties to rent or buy and lack of space in the city will lead to a drop in building permits. Living in the city remains very much in trend, especially among the younger generation, and in the medium term the influx of new residents into the city and falling numbers of people per household will continue. “Therefore we do not anticipate any significant easing of the situation in 2015. Interest rates are still enticingly low and many buyers will have to rethink their plans in favour of the moderately and averagely-priced locations, driving up the top prices here too. In the premium locations, however, fewer sales will be made and prices will barely rise at all,” forecasts Seidel
. “Vendors should nevertheless demand realistic prices in this market situation. The property that is valued at a fair market price is more likely to sell quickly for the owner’s asking price”.
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