Through its history, the German capital has experienced several cultural, economic and political influences that have shaped and influenced the urban landscape of the city.
Walking through the capital of Germany, one changes the era at the turn of each street and is seized by the contrast between the architectural styles and influences of each era in Europe.
Given the diversity of construction styles, the type of the property and building becomesa central criteria, on which depends the price, whether it's to rent or to buy a property in Berlin.
The period properties (“Altbau” in German) are buildings that were mostly built between the end of the 19th century and 1930. The Altbau homes were built in the Art Nouveau style (Jugendstil) with different levels of sophistication.
In addition to coloured glass windows of the period, the common areas of the Altbau buildings are distinguished by the presence of ornaments, decoration in stucco and ancient faience.
In some buildings, notably in the district of Charlottenburg, KreuzbergPrenzlauer Berg, there are prestigious Altbau buildings with marble entrances, period frescoes and sometimes charming period lifts with bench seats.
The interior of an Altbau property is distinguished by sub-ceiling heights up to 3,50m for the lowest floors (the height generally decreases with the upper floors) with interior stucco decoration. Some apartments are with a well-preserved period parquet floors (Dielen) made of solid pine boards up to 10m length each.
The plan of the apartments is characterized by the large size of the rooms often around 20m2.
In recent years, many of attics of Atlbau buildings have been converted into Penthouses (by removing parts of the roof and replacing it with a terrace) and have become very popular properties.
Berliners have developed an almost affective relationship with Altbau apartments which are the most sought-after properties, although most of them have no elevators.
An Altbau property for sale in a good location in Berlin would have a sale price of 4300 to 6000€/m2.
The new buildings in Berlin, called Neubau, are distinguished by their elegance and sobriety. As German urban planning regulations are particularly strict, they are often built at the same height as period buildings (5-6 floors maximum). The Neubau are also energy efficient (Standard Kf-70) and are equipped with modern lifts and parking spaces, which makes them appreciated by business and expatriate clientele. Usually th ground floor are commercial units or apartments with private gardens.
The no man’s Land around the Berlin Wall location (notably between the central station and Chausseestraße or south of Mitte towards Spittelmarkt), a time disgraced by the inhabitants of the city have now become a real growth driver the Berlin real estate market. New central neighbourhoods emerge from zero like the Mittenmang area.
The Neubau are particularly appreciated by international investors because they do not obey the rents. Seekers of high-end real estate could enjoy exceptional penthouses with oversized terraces, or even private gardens on the roofs. A new build apartment for sale in Berlin good locations would have a sale price of 5000 to 7000€/m2 depending on location, floor and number of bedrooms.
The lofts are probably the type of property currently the trendiest and sought after in Berlin. This is due to the rarity of the buildings and also to the charm of industrial design knowing that Berlin is a very dynamic city in the field of design and at the forefront of interior decoration trends.
The lofts in Berlin are housed in buildings often made of red brick, formerly used as artisanal factories, old administrations or hospitals of the early 20th century, such as the Joli cœur project in Berlin Charlottenburg or the Metropol Park project in Mitte.
The apartments are distinguished by ceiling heights of up to 8m allowing mezzanines to be built (Galerie Wohnung).
The lofts in Berlin have become the playground for interior designers and enthusiasts of retro design furnishings, which cover the city's countless flea markets in search of furniture and period fixtures.
The so called “Plattenbau” are buildings that were built in the 50s to 70s. Unlike other cities, they have the particularity of having been built in very central locations like Schöneberg after the destruction caused by the war.
These apartments have good quality services, particularly in terms of insulation and functionality and often benefit from large loggias, lifts and common areas serving gardens and shared parking which is an advantage as the parking space price in Berlin is currently trading between 20,000 and 60,000 euros.
Imperial Stalinist-style buildings can be found in a single area of Berlin, in Friedrichshain around the Karl-Marx Allee in which military parades were held during the DDR era.
These buildings, classified as historical monuments (Denkmalschutz), were built in the "classical socialist" style (Sozialistischer Klassizismus) for the nomenclature and the elite of the East German communist party.
These buildings are reputed to be very solid constructions and are distinguished by large entrances and common parts and ceiling heights of about 3m, well-preserved period parquet floors.
These buildings, are authentic pieces of history and are recognizable by the bright earthenware faience that decorates their facades.
The properties types in Berlin are very diverse and depend on the area of search, so at the end, it's more on personal criteria, price and location ones that everyone could say what would be the best mix for his ideal berlin property!
Located in East Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg is a residential central neighbourhood, that became the symbol of Berlin life style.
The area knew a deep transformation with the arrival of new population (young families, artists, expats, entrepreneurs...) and the renovation of many period building (Altbau) in bright colours, typical of the new chic and trendy face of the capital German.
One of the delightful consequences of this change is the emergence of many sophisticated bars and restaurants, art galleries, concept-boutiques, vinyl shops, design furniture stores which contrast with other districts of Berlin. There are as well many street markets as the famous organic market of Kollwitzplatz, which brings together local producers from Brandenburg and bohemian life amateurs. The area is full of green cobblestone streets and shopping districts, including Stargarder str., which is populated by decoration shops, organic glaziers and sunny terraces. The elegant Pappelallee or the charming Kastanienallee, a cheerful mix of thrift shops, design boutiques, vegan restaurants and independent cinemas. The Helmholtzplatz, affectionately called "Helmi" by the Berliners, has become a symbol of the neighbourhood, serving both as a playground for the many children, as a collaborative urban garden and as a meeting place, a breeding ground for the local associations.
But living in Prenzlauer Berg is not only reserved for young, trendy families, and the neighbourhood conserved its bohemian soul which has made its international reputation. It has several alternative astmosphere bars with retro and DDR style furniture. There are still a few socialist and community bars, like in Raumer strasse and Lychener strasse where you can meet colourful characters and attend debates and screenings.
If the area can seem quite dense, living in Prenzlauer Berg can also enjoy the oasis of greenery. The Volkspark, to the east of the city, is famous for its slope allowing toboggan runs in winter. On the other hand, the Mauerpark is a Berlin institution. Every Sunday there is a big flea market, as well as a famous open-air karaoke during the summer season. A true myth, it allows visitors to sing to hundreds of people in the park's arena and share with the crowd an extraordinary joyful and positive energy.
Living in Prenzlauer Berg is also interesting for culture and history lovers. The Kulturbrauerei is a must-see in the district: an impressive set of red brick buildings, a former 19th century brewery, converted into a cultural complex. There are cafes and restaurants, art exhibitions, an auditorium, a cinema and many shops.
Finally, visiting the memorial of the Berlin Wall, located along the Bernauerstraße, is a must, to better understand the former division of the city. The site consists of unbroken portions of the wall and a documentation center, complemented by a route following the old layout of the wall for more than one kilometre.
Learn more about the neighborhoods and areas of Berlin
If the winter is relatively calm, Berlin summer is so intense that its inhabitants express an extraordinary energy and creativity to enjoy every second. The numerous festivals held each year in the German capital are the reflection of this effervescence, and are addressed to all, families or revelers.
The festivities open with the traditional MyFest, a series of events in the streets of Kreuzberg every May 1st. Not only a political event, it is also a festive and family gathering, with street barbecues and street concerts. The famous Carnival of Cultures is held every year in June in the district of Mehringdamm. In a festive and family atmosphere, many stands representing different countries of the world offer to taste local specialties or to buy typical crafts, all on a background of street concerts.
Summertime in Berlin also brings music to life, especially with the Bergmannstraßenfest, a jazz festival that takes place every year in the charming shopping district of Bergmannstraße, at the junction between Kreuzberg and Schöneberg. Classical music lovers will enjoy the Classic Open Air in late July. Eclectic festival, it also proposes classical reinterpretations of rock and pop tubes, in the baroque frame of the elegant Gendarmemarkt, bordered by the cupolas of the two cathedrals. Party goers who love more contemporary music will opt for Loolapazoola, which takes place each summer late in a different and emblematic place of the city. This world-renowned festival brings together the big names of the electro-rock scene. The festival of the citadel of Spandau, a little away from the city, is also a must for lovers of rock music and current scenes. It is also a good reason to visit the impressive fortress of Spandau, one of the oldest buildings in the region, dating back to the 16th century.
Art and culture enthusiasts will be delighted by the Museums' Night, which usually takes place in August: a hundred museums and cultural institutions open their doors until late into the night, an opportunity to discover numerous collections, some of them Unknown, in a new light. The 48-hour Neukölln is also a highlight of the Berlin summer: over a weekend, many artists of this bohemian and trendy area open the doors of their workshops, allowing the public to discover both people and exceptional places.
A stay in Berlin in summer is also an opportunity to enjoy the many parks in the very heart of the city. One of the most emblematic is the Tempelhofer feld, former airport converted into a huge park open to the public. Whether rolling, cycling or even walking, crossing this space provides a feeling of space and freedom. Areas are reserved for barbeques, a tradition particularly appreciated by the people of Berlin, which allows everyone to grill what he wants on small portable barbecues. This practice is very common in Berlin, especially in the volkspark, present in each district.
Summer also sees many open-air bars open to the public: the Sisyphos with its huge outdoor beach at the Club der Visionäre and its floating terrace, Berlin unveils unique and electrifying spaces.
Summer in Berlin is the generous nature of the Brandenburg at your fingertips. Several lakes, such as Wannsee or Schlachtensee, can be reached directly from the city center by S-Bahn and are well worth a day. The more adventurous will opt for a weekend by bike and camping in the refreshing red pine forests, punctuated by numerous wild and preserved lakes.
Learn more about the areas of Berlin
Berlin is a multiple and contrasted city, eco-friendly, trendy and welcoming. Under a bohemian appearance, it is also bucolic and elegant, with its covered passages and small secret courtyards populated by chic an design boutiques, especially in the area of Prenzlauer Berg and Monbijou Park, in the heart of Mitte. It goes without saying that Berlin is a major destination for amateurs of classical music and operas, with its known “Berliner Philharmonie” and halls like Deutsche Oper and StaatOper.
Culture lovers will be delighted by the several museums hosting masterpieces from all the world, including those on the famous Mitte Museum Island, bordered by Spree banks. Living in Berlin also allows you to enjoy the surrounding nature of the Brandenburg: by bike or S-Bahn, it is easy to reach many wild and unspoilt lakes, to camp in the pine forests, and to discover the surrounding villages. For nightlife, living in Berlin is obviously a source of perpetual inspiration: with its world-known clubs, bars and festive places, the German capital attracts many revellers from all countries.
Living in Berlin involves a life rhythm, more relaxed and alternative than in most major European capitals. It is enough to observe the filled terraces of the cafes and urban parks like Volkspark Firedrichshain, to convince oneself that here one takes the time to live and enjoy.
The life in Berlin is rhythmed by seasons: if the winter is rough, it is softened by the warm gatherings, the numerous Christmas markets and the cosy cafés with retro furniture where people take refuge to sip a hot wine and remake the world with table neighbours. The summer comes as a start, and releases all the energy and creativity of Berliners: festivals, ephemeral bars on the roofs of buildings, barbecues in parks, cinemas and outdoor clubs, a boost of freedom and enthusiasm then blows over the whole city. Mauerpark's outdoor karaoke in Prenzlauer Berg is the symbol of this summer “joie de vivre”.
Berlin is also a city with an affirmed ecological spirit, where most people use bikes, which is facilitated by the many bike paths and large parks in the heart of the city. The taste of bio, recycling and handmade are dear to the heart of Berliners. The city has many associations that can repair or recycle clothes, household appliances, or even easily train themselves in woodworking or other artisanal techniques.
As far as gastronomy is concerned, Berlin is faithful to its reputation as a cosmopolitan capital: restaurants offering specialties from all over the world, from Thailand, Italy, Lebanon, Vietnam...as well as numerous vegetarian and concept food stores. The innumerable street counters obviously serve the Currywurst Berlin specialty.
Finally, unlike many other large cities, living in Berlin remains quite affordable. Prices, especially real estate, have risen steadily for several years, but it is a very accessible city, where it is nice and relaxing to live and where one can find and enjoy its own pleasure with absolute freedom...
Learn more about the neighborhoods and areas of Berlin
Berlin, the capital of Germany! Events, parties, art and history - culture wherever you look! Not surprising that the city is considered as a magnet for tourists. Berlin is Germany's largest city with 3.5 million inhabitants. When moving to this city, it can be difficult to find the neighborhood that suits your needs best. For this reason, we got a closer look at Berlins’ neighborhoods and dida short guide on 5 neighborhoods in Berlin.
When moving to Berlin, you have to decide whether you want to stay near nature or whether you want to be at the party area? Think of what is important to you. Which amenities would you like in your area of residence?
District of “Mitte”
"Mitte" as the district is nicknamed or called in short, lies in the heart of Berlin and is the administrative district and historical center of the city. It consists partly of the former East Berlin and is relatively densely populated with 368,000 inhabitants. Berlin Mitte is an excellent tourist magnet due to its typical sightseeing locations, which go from the Brandenburger Tor to Alexanderplatz, as well as along the boulevard „Unter den Linden“.
Unfortunately, and as you can imagine, this residential area is very expensive. On average, a rented apartment costs 16.48€/m². However, due to its central location you don’t have to deal with long distances, either in leisure time or on the way to work. Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz, Friedrichstraße and Rudi-Dutschke-Straße form the economic core of the metropolis. Popular residential areas are near the Hackescher Markt, Torstraße and Rosenthaler Platz.
Kreuzberg unites pure multiculturalism and life! After the fall of the Wall, Kreuzberg became a central location in Berlin. The district was known not only for its vibrant nightlife, but also for civil commotions and riots. However nowadays, the situation has improved significantly. The city has successfully combated the riots by organizing alternative events. Every year residents, traders and citizens' initiatives organize the peaceful street festival "MyFest". Visitors can hereby experience the multicultural flair of the area. The population in Kreuzberg is made up of about one-third of migrants. More than 180 nationalities co-exist mainly peacefully.
Living in Kreuzberg is less expensive than Berlin Mitte. On average, one square meter of a rented apartment costs 14.32€.
Both, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, make up the second administrative district of Berlin. It used to be known as a sordid DDR working class quarter. Much has changed in this district as well. Friedrichshain is now considered a trendy place and a political platform. The locals are very engaged politically. The district is also called lovingly "homely neighborhood". The very animated lifestyle and apartments within a big price range have attracted the younger generation in particular. The areas with old buildings are very popular for families. Also the birth rate in those areas is steadily increasing. Furthermore, it is considered a good neighborhood for parents since daycare centers and schools enjoy a good reputation. A range of well-developed playgrounds and youth facilities are available, offering a variety of different activities for children. The square meter for a rented apartment amounts to an average of 14.03 €/m².
Many areas in Neukölln were characterized by poverty for a long time. Since 2006 these neighborhoods also changed and improved considerably. The neighborhood, formerly known as wicked and mean, attracts mainly artists and creative people nowadays. This is because of the cheap rents and the variety of idyllic places in Neukölln. In some areas there is almost a rural flair, with historic half-timbered houses and pretty gardens. The North continues to develop positively in particular. The old buildings are regarded as trendy residential areas and young people enjoy the extravagant nightlife of Neukölln.
In Berlin Neukölln it is possible to rent an apartment for around 11.96 €/m².
The Prenzlauer Berg is also a great residential area. The picturesque old buildings attracts many people, therefore it is the most densely populated neighborhood in Berlin. More than 300 buildings are classified as historical monuments, the oldest were built in 1848. The population is very young compared to other parts of Berlin, the educational level is very high. More than half of the residents have a high school diploma or a university degree. In addition, the Prenzlauer Berg is known for its many leisure activities.
In Prenzlauer Berg you may pay an average of 14.38€/m² for a rented apartment.
For ensuring a peaceful and perfect move to Berlin, our real estate agency in Berlin available for all questions and matters.
In the report „Emerging trends in real estate - Europe 2016“, the consultancy company PwC raised Berlin for the second consecutive year as the best city both in Europe e for real estate investment and development (ahead of Hamburg and Dublin). Despite its low property prices, Berlin became also in 2015 the second most active real estate market after London and ahead of Paris with investments growing from €3bn in 2014 to €10bnin 2015!
According to the report, the city development is sustained by the public sector, the revitalization of commercial areas, the booming of tourism, the positive migration, the international and young population and of course by the leading IT and tech sectors.
Learn more about:
Are you a Brit, thinking of buying a property in Berlin? If so, you’ll be pleased to know that buying your ideal German property will now leave less of a dent in your bank balance. This is because the pound to euro exchange rate recently hit a 7.5-year high, at 1.4256, its strongest since November 7th 2007!
What this means for you is that, when you transfer money from the UK to your German bank account, to buy a Berlin property, you'll get more euros. For example, let's say you transfer £250,000 to Germany. With that sum, you’ll now get +€56,000 more than if you’d bought a Berlin home back at the start of 2014, when the pound was far weaker.
In other words, that's an extra +€56,000 sitting in your German bank account, at no additional cost to you, just because the exchange rate has strengthened! With that sort of money, you could buy a more luxurious property in Berlin, decorate the place to your taste, or just pocket the sizeable saving for a rainy day!
Moreover, it could soon become even better value to buy a Berlin property, if sterling continues to climb versus the euro. The pound could exceed this 7-year high, first, if Greece exits the Eurozone, as looks entirely possible. Second, the pound may also continue to climb, because the UK economy is easily outpacing the Eurozone’s.
With this in mind, make the most of this advantageous exchange rate while it lasts, and buy your ideal Berlin property!
Learn more about:
This article is written by a guest author Peter Lavelle, from Pure FX.
To contact the author:
On the night of the 25th of August, 2015 over one hundred museums and exhibition venues open their doors and give the visitors the possibility to view exhibitions, collections and installations at night. In addition, there is a rich variety of readings, concerts and plays. It is the 35th Night of Museums.
Specific routes of the shuttle buses are made available and so that every individual can compile their favorite events on an individual program. It is advisable to purchase the tickets online or at the participating museums long in advance.
With 80 museums from the classical temples of culture on the Museum Island to the Trabi Museum, the private collector room to the Stasi Museum the nightly event has something for everyone: World-famous collections, Berlin originals, other cultures, unique places and well known artifices things to discover in an adventurous atmosphere.
Hosted by the DMY Berlin, which is an international platform for contemporary product design, the International Design Festival takes place from June 10 to June 15, 2015. The DMY Agency hands out the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany and hosts numerous international design exhibitions in Europe, Asia, North and South America.
The International Design Festival Berlin presents renowned and young designers, new products, prototypes and experimental concepts. The exhibitions are accompanied by an extensive program of symposia, designer talks and workshops that address topics of contemporary design, reflect and identify necessary future trends in product design and related fields.
The outstanding design works are drawn annually and awarded, to pave the way for unconventional, innovative and emerging ideas from mainstream projects and products. Over the year DMY Berlin curated national and international exhibitions and realized several projects on international design festivals, fairs, in design institutions and museums.
For 4 consecutive days the festival for Berliners and tourists takes place in the capital and shows off its best sides. It’s cosmopolitan, international, dynamic, full of life, varied and colourful. Since the mid-90s around half a million people celebrate the colourful mix of the city every year.
Truck procession with close to 100 vehicles and over 5 thousand participants from almost all parts of the world are enjoying the music and the diversity now: from Brazilian samba to Chinese lion dance, from West African drums to German horn groups of carnival are an impressive proof that Berlin's treasure is the diversity and internationalism.
In addition to the four-day street festival, there is always a big parade which is the highlight of the event.
From May 1st to May 3rd the Gallery Weekend in Germany’s capital will drive tourists through different parts of the city. On their faces: big smiles in the face of a blockbuster artists list, showing the importance of Berlin galleries during the Gallery's Weekend. The art festival takes place yearly and offers upcoming, but also well established artists a great audience.
To mention two of the most impeccable artists, Matt Mullican is displaying his modernistic work at the Galerie Klosterfelde and the fantastic Robert Longo at Capitain Petzel.
In addition, the gallery owner Sassa Trülzsch opens her new exhibition room right next to her gallery in the Blumenthalstrasse. Another notable artist such as Jill Lipertz is showing her „contemporary art by appointment“. For art lovers and those who are aspiring to become artists this is an impossible event to miss.
The Berlin International Film Festival, also called the Berlinale, is one of the most important events in the international film industry that annually takes place in different locations in Berlin. Hollywood stars such as George Clooney and Angelina Jolie, major film players like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg and local celebrities such as Daniel Brühl have gathered here to award the best movie and the best short film with the golden bear.
The silver bear is awarded in the categories of best actor, best actress, best director, best screenplay, outstanding artistic performance and grand price of the jury. The 65th Berlinale takes place from 5th – 15th of February in 2015. More than 400 movies are entered in the highly acclaimed competition and around 300.000 movie lovers are expected to buy tickets with even more spectators standing outside.
Simultaneously to the Berlinale the European Film Market (EFM) takes place, where producers, film-purchasers, lenders and agents can trade and network. It is considered one of the most reputable film markets in the world. For film enthusiasts and professionals the Berlinale offers a great many opportunities.
The German winter is mostly cold and sometimes lonely. Berlin has more than 80 large and small, traditional and alternative Christmas markets spread throughout the entire city to get in the mood of the most wonderful time of the year. Bright lights shine from trees and houses. Pine branches decorate the small wooden craft shops. Food stands invite visitors to try out waffles, bratwurst, warm chestnuts and new culinary achievements while the smell of mulled wine and gingerbread flies through the air. Choirs set the music on the more traditional markets and electronic Christmas pop rings from the speakers on the more fashionable ones.
The Christmas markets are the perfect setting to find the last Christmas presents and spend a wonderful time with your family and friends. In between the Concert house, the German and the French Dome, lies one of the most beautiful markets on Gendarmenmarkt. It has plenty of shops, food and wine stands and a small stage for theatrical performances. Other exceptionally beautiful Christmas markets are right in front of the royal Charlottenburg Palace or the Spandau Christmas market.
The Christmas market in front of the Red City Hall has an ice skating area around the classical Neptune’s fountain. Skaters that prefer to have a rooftop view find a rooftop skating area on top of the Bikini Berlin shopping center next to the Gedächtniskirche Christmas market at Ku’Damm. The Christmas markets open around the 24th of November and close around the 31st of December. Next to the Christmas markets many of the operas, theatres, museums and other cultural venues create special events in the time leading up to Christmas Eve. The Berlin Philharmonic for example arranges Wagner concerts under the lead of the world renowned conductor Sir Simon Rattle.
The Circus Roncalli performs a Christmas Circus and the Theatre at Potsdamer Platz is staging Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake performed by the world famous Bolshoi Ballet to name a few. Despite the cold winds and the early sunsets, Berlin remains a remarkable place in winter.
Lear more about the neighborhoods and areas of Berlin
Following the publication of “Emerging trends in Real Estate 2013 Survey” Europe, the city of Berlin was ranked 2nd after Munich, the Bayern region capital, in terms of investments prospects.
The report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Urban Land Institute scored the major European cities in terms of existing and new investments. Berlin ranked second for both criteria followed by London, Istanbul, Hamburg and Paris.
In terms of housing demand prospects, Berlin confirmed its attractiveness with almost the highest rent increase score along with Istanbul.
The report highlighted the attraction of the city for designers, artists and technology start-up entrepreneurs with around 37000 companies operating in media and creative industries in Berlin.
Despite its historical background, Berlin is becoming increasingly interesting for international investment funds, large companies and wealthy Germans. This allowed berlin to reach the 5th place in terms of transaction volumes just after Moscow (despite the large difference of prices, as Moscow is 5-6 times more expensive than Berlin).
Learn more about: