Germany still has plenty to offer, as pricing nears bottom

Prices for most asset classes in Germany have adjusted to lower levels, but many sellers are still holding on to properties amid a dearth of deals, according to Mark Holz, head of research at Frankfurt-based asset manager and broker Dr. Lübke & Kelber.

‘We are heading towards the bottom of the pricing for most sectors – residential has reached the bottom, as has industrial – and many investors have pivoted their strategies to take higher interest rates into account,’ Holz said at Expo Real.

Does that mean that pricing has effectively settled? ‘Not too many deals are happening, but the deals that are closing, are being closed at a very sustainable pricing level. There are still plenty of sellers who don’t want to sell at this level, so the bid-ask gap remains,’ he said. ‘But we are in a buyers’ market. The pricing is whatever the buyer is able to pay and we have basically reached the bottom.’

Turning to the wall of refinancing events round the corner, Holz added: ‘There are going to be issues for sure. If your business plan was set out to function at a zero percent interest rate, and now it’s at 4 or 5%, that is tough. Many asset holders will have to think about whether it’s better to try and refinance or exit assets.’

On the health of the German market, Holz said: ‘Germany is the lame duck in the European panorama. It’s not the economic powerhouse it was post GFC. That said, if you are looking at the labour market, for example, that is in very good shape. Wages are going up and the outlook is rosy. Clearly, Germany will not see economic boom times again as it did 10 years ago, there has perhaps been too little investment into modern businesses. But robust SMEs are still the backbone of the economy.’

Holz said that of all the structural changes, retail had something interesting to offer. ‘There’s one trend there that no one else is talking about – and that’s retail in secondary and tertiary cities. We are seeing a clear trend of people migrating to smaller cities which are more affordable, and where they can actually find a home. As they move, some of those retail assets – which really struggled in the past – will benefit the most.’


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