All aboard! Buyers set sail for buoyant Berlin

International buyers are increasingly setting sail for Berlin. The buoyant market is riding a wave of population growth; the Germany capital was expected to swell by 250,000 people between 2011 and 2030, but city planners now believe that number will be added by 2019. The population grew by 44,700 in 2014 alone.

As a result, property prices have risen and rents are also rising.

Ray Withers, CEO of specialist property investment company Property Frontiers, which is offering high specification buy-to-let apartments in the city at Stadtpark Steglitz from €153,670, comments: “We’re seeing some rapid shifts in Berlin’s property market after almost two decades of very little activity. It’s an exciting time to be part of the market there and property investors around the world are looking to Berlin as one of Europe’s top residential real estate investment destinations. Berlin looks set to be one of Europe’s most dominant cities during 2016 so far as residential investment is concerned.”

In December 2015, Germany rose 18 places to re-enter the 10 most popular destinations on TheMoveChannel.com, while the latest annual report by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC highlights Berlin as the number one investment hotspot in Europe.

But buyers are not just turning to bricks and mortar to get on board: houseboats are making a splash too.

Schaaf, a company known for its larger, high spec yachts, has steered itself into new waters with a series of floating apartments to meet growing demand for both urban living and a flexible lifestyle and cost.

Schaaf won a European Design Award for their boats at the end of 2015, but their boats are also swimming with interested buyers.

“We have 3-5 clients per month asking us for house boats from Europe,” a spokesperson for the company tells TheMoveChannel.com.

The boats are moored around Wannsee in Berlin, Charlottenburg and out on Lake Constance, if permits are obtained. They claim a USP over other houseboats, in that they offer a high-end design with all mod cons on the water, from Wi-Fi and hydraulic steering to (for the price of an upgrade) a hot tub on the terrace and underfloor heating.

Life is but a dream: The kind of floorplan you can expect while rowing your boat

Most enticing of all, though, is the value: Berlin property usually costs €3.500 per square metre of living space, says Schaaf, but the houseboats are just €56 per square metre.

British and German buyers are riding the wave of demand, Germans to use it as their weekend home and Brits as a buy-to-let investment. Indeed, rental income is usually over 6 per cent per annum. For those concerned about capital growth, there is little loss, says Schaaf, with used boats usually selling for around 10 to 20 per cent cheaper than new models.

The company expects a strong current in their favour this year, with 20 sales forecast, thanks to the launch of more affordable houseboats (around €200,000, compared to the previous entry level of €400,000).

Indeed, the British usually go for the Blue Edition, says Schaaf, which costs €210.000 including extras.

Whether on dry land or on houseboats, though, international buyers look set to flood Berlin.

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