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Real Estate

Before the wall came down, Berlin enjoyed a privileged status which attracted numerous subsidies. This affected rents and house prices too - both West and East Berliners were encouraged to stay in the city, and subsidised housing was one of the incentives.

Since the fall of the wall there has been something of a building boom. Western companies were again encouraged to build, invest and refurbish in Berlin with a number of government subsidies and tax incentives, which are gradually being phased out.

Some construction projects have proven over-ambitious as exclusive office spaces and apartment buildings remain empty.

Rents and house prices are still relatively cheap in Berlin, particularly compared to Hamburg, Munich and other cities in the West, where rents can be twice or three times as expensive for equal space. With the mass government relocation from Bonn, rises in real estates prices were predicted, but so far the impact has been minimal. (For more information on finding rental property in Berlin, see our section on Accommodation .)

The property market in Berlin is currently showing signs of recovery, with interest rates on the rise and many foreign real estate funds dumping substantial investments here.

The number of people who own their own homes in Berlin remains however relatively low. This is still a renters market, and renting is not seen as being socially inferior to buying property - people who can easily afford to buy property do not always do so, as renting is a great value.

However, should you wish to buy property, there are several factors to consider which may differ from your home country.

1) The size of property is always measured not in bedrooms, but sin square metres (m²), which may at first seem baffling if your idea of large is a house with 5 bedrooms.

2) The number of rooms quoted generally does not include kitchen and bathroom. Reception rooms and bedrooms are usually all counted as 'rooms'.

3) There is less of a variety of housing in Berlin - as with most European cities, the vast majority of dwellings are flats. Detached houses are generally found on the outskirts of the city and tend to be exclusive and pricey.

Click here for a list of real estate agents who can help you to buy, sell or let property in Berlin.

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