Like few other European cities, Berlin is still rebuilding, repainting and reinventing itself. Following destruction, division, reunification and reestablishment as Germany’s capital, the city has seen unprecedented growth and its evolution into a modern, green and vibrant metropolis has been truly astonishing.
Thanks to large numbers of West German conscientious objectors and other non-conformists moving to West Berlin to avoid military service, a sizeable countercultural scene grew in the city, which has continued to develop into the open, tolerant and inclusive society Berlin enjoys today. Berlin is also Germany’s most multicultural city. Of the approximately 3.7 million residents, more than 20% possess a foreign passport.
Each district and neighbourhood in Berlin has its own individual character with which residents identify and something that they are fiercely proud of. And yet, at the same time, the whole city has a uniform spirit; a common aesthetic which binds Berliners together and produces the distinctive, vibrant and fun atmosphere for which the city has become well-known for today.
In addition to its modern verve, Berlin is of course a city of immense history, and boasts a world-class selection of unrivalled cultural attractions. There are three opera houses to choose from, 190 museums and 300 art galleries, as well as universally recognised landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate and Berlin Wall Memorial. In more recent years Berlin’s nightlife has gained a reputation of its own, with over 400 nightclubs to choose from.
As a relatively cheap city in which to live, with an abundance of cultural offerings, multicultural cuisine, and a wealth of green, open spaces, the quality of life in Berlin is practically unparalleled. Furthermore, for a city of its size, it is remarkably uncongested and is the greenest city in Germany, with over 44% of the entire 892 sq km (approx. 345 square miles) made up of green space, woodlands, rivers and waterways.
"Berlin is remarkably uncongested and is the greenest city in Germany, with over 44% of the city made up of green space, woodlands, rivers and waterways."
Neighbourhoods to watch
Wilmersdorf shows that Berlin has a lot to offer in addition to the lively, trendy neighbourhoods. It's a little bit more traditional here than in other parts of the city and the east. At the same time, the district is currently experiencing something of a renaissance, as international investors, in particular, find luxury residences here that meet their high standards. And thanks to first-class theatres, shopping opportunities and restaurants, the golden west really leaves nothing to be desired.
Lichtenberg is a part of Berlin whose full potential is just slowly beginning to unfold. The former working-class district has visibly changed in recent years, and in the meantime, those who want to live close to the city and stay well-connected, but have had enough of the often overrun trendy neighbourhoods of Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain, have headed to Lichtenberg. You can now find many young families and students who prefer the relaxed pace of life, taking up residence in popular old building districts such as the Kaskel or Weitlingkiez. Naturally, the real estate market is growing fast, and there is no end in sight for the time being.
As the greenest district in Berlin – Berliners who are hungry for sun and exercise are always drawn to the outdoors in Treptow-Köpenick, where they can picnic in the park, roam the woods by bike or enjoy the view of the water. But the high quality of life is just one of the reasons for the enormous population growth over the past five years. The many large new construction projects, as well as Germany's largest research and technology park, the science city of Adlershof with over 1,000 companies in residence, make the district an attractive place to work and live. Families are drawn to the quiet, southern locations along the Dahme, while young professionals prefer the central Alt-Treptow.
What’s driving demand
31 Universities / 14 international Schools Free education Subsidized public transportation tickets for students Discounts for museums, galleries, and other tourist attractions for students
Reason for buying?
Price per sq m:
Core: €5,000 Prime: €11,600 Super Prime: €20,000
79% Local 21% International
Did you know
The percentage of dedicated green space in Berlin with the Tiergarten Park, home to Berlin’s zoo, a popular attraction for residents
Reasons to buy
When compared to other German cities, like Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich, and particularly when compared to other major European cities such as London, Paris and Madrid, Berlin’s real estate market offers very attractive prices and great value.
As the city continues to develop into a hotspot for young international creatives, Berlin has become the most popular destination in Europe for people under the age of 40. This has led to a recent average population increase of about 50,000 inhabitants per year, which has, in turn, led to demand for housing vastly exceeding supply, particularly in central areas.
The surging population, as well as Berlin’s burgeoning reputation as a corporate hub with close links between science, business and politics, has seen real estate prices grow considerably in recent years. More and more companies are moving their headquarters to the city or opening branches, and some pioneering companies, such as Zalando and SoundCloud, got their big break here.
Berlin also has great green credentials, with only one in three people in Berlin owning a car, but almost everyone owning a bicycle. The Berlin senate has reacted accordingly by investing over $30 million in modern cycling infrastructure in 2020. The developments include extending the city centre’s bike paths to reach 620 km and road bike lanes to 60 km. Berlin is also home to approximately 550 electric vehicle charging stations.
Berlin market in numbers
Whether it is for lifestyle or investment purposes, there can be extra costs that need to be considered in addition to the purchase of the property itself. While the cost of the property is by far the most significant expense, additional costs you may need to cover can include local fees, taxes, running costs and possible charges that will need to be factored in.
The total percentage of purchasers costs involved in buying a property in Berlin, which includes:
Property transfer tax of 6%. Notary and land registry fee ca. 2%. Advisory fees of 3-6% (project dependant). Legal advice ca. 1%.
Rental yields: Based on gross income. Average rental: Based on prices per month. Prime market: The most desirable and most expensive property in a given location, defined as the top 5% of each market by value. Super prime market: The most desirable and most expensive property in a given location, defined as homes priced at more than US $10 million.
Rental yield: 4.0% Expected running costs: €1 sq m Average rental: €11.5 sq m
Rental yield: 3.5% Expected running costs: €3 sq m Average rental: €18 sq m
Super prime market
Rental yield: 3.0% Expected running costs: €4 sq m Average rental: €25 sq m
What can you get for your money in Berlin?
Knight Frank has listed all properties within the past 12 months. The price per square meter shown for all sold property is representative of their appraised pricing and not their final sale price.
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Sources: 1. Ziegert EverEstate, 2. Knight Frank. This city guide is provided for general information only. It is not definitive, nor is it intended to amount to advice on which you should solely rely upon. As far as applicable laws allow, we do not accept responsibility for errors, inaccuracies or omissions, nor for loss or damage that may result directly or indirectly from reliance on or use of its contents.