The Berlin housing market is determined by a relatively small number of wealthy private individuals and real estate companies. This is the result of a study by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, according to which around every second residential property is owned by a major landlord.
Large landlords determine the Berlin real estate market
A study by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation revealed an interesting dynamic in relation to the Berlin real estate market. Most of the real estate in the federal capital belongs to private and public large landlords. Around 50 percent of all residential properties are therefore owned by a few wealthy owners. “Almost half of the city belongs to a few thousand (real estate) multimillionaires,” says the study.
Compared to other major German cities, this is an extraordinary phenomenon. The reason for this balance of power is the continuously falling interest rates, which according to the authors have a “[massive] Redistribution of wealth from the bottom up […]“Resulted.
The tenants literally bear the costs of this movement, as the study shows. It goes on to say that more regulations must be found to counteract this.
More than 800,000 properties owned by major landlords
Nevertheless, Berlin itself, with a total of 323,000 residential properties, is still the most powerful landlord, followed by Deutsche Wohnen and Vonovia, which have 115,740 and 42,241 properties respectively in their portfolios.
Overall, more than 800,000 or 45.7 percent of the 1.75 million apartments in Berlin are owned by large companies and wealthy private individuals.
The private landlords are less known to the public; according to the study, they mostly hide behind companies and companies founded specifically for renting. However, the Becker & Kries family foundation could be identified as one of the large private landlords. This includes around 3,600 apartments in the capital and the surrounding area, as well as some additional commercial properties.
Study authors advocate stricter inheritance taxes
1,000 apartments, which stand out from the crowd with their bright colors, are owned by the entrepreneur Harry Gerlach, who appointed his daughters as the new bosses of the administration company at the beginning of the year.
The authors of the study comment on this takeover as follows: “Because of a dubious exception in the inheritance and gift tax law and its interpretation by the tax authorities”, the property was probably passed to the entrepreneur’s children without paying taxes.
Accordingly, Christoph Trautvetter, co-author of the study, advocates political reforms to the newspaper Neues Deutschland: “The example shows that above all we need inheritance taxation without loopholes in order to prevent the accumulation of huge property over generations,” said Trautvetter.
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