It’s no secret that Berlin is a city of constant reinvention, but its latest incarnation might just surprise a few people. A combination of exciting start-ups, innovative designers, celebrity events and property developments have all helped to establish the city as the new coolest place in Europe, increasingly credited with capturing the same sense of creativity and possibility as Paris in the 30s or New York in the 80s.
The German capital’s nightlife has been celebrated by twenty-something travellers for years, but in the past few years a series of stylish new cocktail bars and clubs have provided a grown-up alternative to those underground raves. This hasn’t diminished the city’s hipster credentials though, with Karl Lagerfeld’s favourite fashion designer Michael Michalsky recently explaining that he chose to base his label in Berlin because ‘the future is being lived on the streets. This is where I find my inspiration.’ Flea markets, pop-up music venues and striking graffiti provide an ever-changing backdrop for the city’s 3.5 million residents.
Creativity is proudly celebrated in this city. The Berlin International Film Festival is one of Germany’s largest cultural events, while Berlin Fashion Week offers an alternative take on couture by sending models down the aisle of a chartered U-Bahn train. Abandoned airports are transformed into kite boarding spots, wine bars operate on a pay what you want basis, and a 1.3km stretch of the Berlin wall has become a famous outdoor art gallery.
Tech start-ups like SoundCloud have set up shop in Silicone Alee, while co-working spaces make it easy for young entrepreneurs to develop projects and bounce around ideas. This relaxed attitude towards work combined with the low cost of living and of course, that famous nightlife, has attracted young professionals from America and Europe in their droves.
Reasonable real estate prices have become an increasingly important factor in persuading these young people and businesses to move to Berlin. While the costs in other European capitals soar, Berlin remains very much a buyer’s market. However, its current popularity has lent city property some serious growth potential: prices have risen by 50% since 2010, while the demand for short-term housing has driven rental prices up.
The influx of young people to Berlin has also resulted in the gentrification of formerly undesirable neighbourhoods such as Kreuzberg: once notorious for its squatter population, the area is now a favourite hangout for hipsters and artists as well as a choice investment spot for property developers. Meanwhile, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf remains reassuringly upscale, with five star restaurants and designer stores along the tree-lined Kurfürstendamm. Landlords in this neighbourhood can expect very attractive rental incomes from well-heeled locals as well as from tourists – last year Berlin ranked at number 11 in a survey of the world’s most popular destinations.
If you’re planning on adding a home in Berlin to your property portfolio, speak to Engel & Völkers. With shops throughout the city, our real estate agents are ideally positioned to offer you their insider advice on everything from choosing the right neighbourhood to making an offer. With expert after-sales service, you’ll be guided smoothly through the purchasing process from start to finish.