Buying instead of renting

Are you one of those people who dream of not having to pay rent any more and instead investing the money in your own property? As a newcomer to Berlin, you may be in luck because here it’s still relatively affordable to finance a dream apartment. While in Munich, property prices have exploded to more than € 6,000 per sq m, prices in Berlin start at about € 3,200 per sq m.

Here we list some prominent new construction projects.

An advantage is that when you buy a property directly from the developer, you can often save yourself the very high 7.14 percent Berlin brokerage commission.

And the financing? The more equity the better! As a minimum, you should be able to cover the so-called sundry purchase costs of 7.5 percent (the rate for Berlin real estate), plus, if necessary, 7.14 percent for the broker. The remaining amount must be financed with a loan. You can choose a bank yourself or hire an independent financial advisor who knows the German financial landscape with its over 400 banks. The advisor can create with you a tailor-made plan for your loan. This includes, for example, the choice of the repayment amount, fixed interest period or special repayment options. If you have never heard of these terms, then it’s high time for a financial advice!

Mortgage checklist for Berlin

1. household costs
The bank checks that the finance can be paid back taking into account living, ancillary and other costs. For the costs, the banks usually work with flat rates. Regardless of the bank’s check, you should also determine for yourself what you can afford.

2. Own capital
A contribution from your own capital and other assets (life insurance, other real estate, etc.) and grants can significantly improve financing terms.

3. Extra costs
In addition to the purchase price, there are other costs, such as 1.5% notary fees and in Berlin a 6% land transfer tax. If a broker is also involved, there will be brokerage fees of up to 7.14 percent. 

4. Your budget
Everything covered? It’s time to calculate your budget. Your capital must cover at least the purchase costs. If you still have capital, you can use it to reduce interest rates on your overall loan. The better the ratio of loan amount to the purchase price, the cheaper the interest. You can estimate your maximum possible loan as follows: (desired monthly rate x 12) / (interest rate + repayment rate).

budget calculation example: 

Own capital: 50 000 €
Desired monthly rate for interest and repayment: 1 000 €


- Interest rate: 2 %
- Repayment rate: 2 %

- Sundry costs: 14,64 %

From that follows...

Max. loan
1 000 € x 12 / (2 % + 2 %)
= 300 000 €

Max. purchase price
(50 000 € + 300 000 €) / 1,1464
= 305 303 €

5. Getting finance  
Germany’s high number of banks – some 400 in all – works in favor of customers. Besides the actual loan amount many other things are relevant when you create a finance plan. These can quickly add up to several thousand euros plus or minus. Independent financial advisers will create an individual financing plan and compare the conditions offered by the many banks.

Berlin’s new housing developments

One of the capital’s most exciting new residential quarters is under development at Berlin Adlershof “City of Science,” one of Europe’s leading technology parks. Some 1,600 rental and condominium apartments, townhouses and around 400 student apartments are being built. More new buildings are under construction nearby or are in the planning stage.
›› Completion: still pending
›› Adlershof, north of Rudower Chaussee,between Groß-Berliner Damm & Karl-Ziegler-Straße

A densely populated inner-city quarter with around 3,000 new rental and owner-occupied apartments, office and commercial space, three daycare centers and a primary school has been under construction on the 40-hectare site since 2015.
›› Completion: planned 2023
›› Mitte/Moabit, north of Berlin central train station

Luisenpark Berlin Mitte   
If you’re looking for a city center location, these 550 owner-occupied apartments are worth checking out. The famous Oranienstraße with its many bars and restaurants is on the doorstep and so is the elegant shopping street Friedrichstrasse.
›› Completion: Winter 2020
›› Mitte, Stallschreiberstr.

Pandion 4Living   
This group of four residential buildings with 357 owner-occupied apartments and a spacious inner courtyard is next to the popular Bötzow district and the Volkspark Friedrichshain.
›› Completion: planned 2021
›› Prenzlauer Berg, Conrad-Blenkle-Str.

Pure Living Berlin   
Some 85 owner-occupied apartments are being built right opposite the East Side Gallery, close to the trendy Friedrichshain district and the Treptower Park.
›› Completion: planned 2021
›› Friedrichshain, Mühlenstr. 20

Upside Berlin  
This new 86-meter high building with 179 owner-occupied apartments towers over the district. It offers a great view of the Berlin skyline and the Spree river.
›› Completion: End of 2021
›› Friedrichshain, Mühlenstr. 31/Mariane-von-Rantzau-Str. 2

Wasserstadt Oberhavel  
Approval was granted in 2018 for the development of 7,500 new apartments for different needs in Spandau. About half will be offered at reduced rents.
›› Completion: still pending
›› Spandau, north of Spandauer Altstadt, east & west of Spandauer Havel 

Where to get good advice – financial service provider for your property financing

Dr. Klein  
One of Germany’s largest financial service providers for construction, insurance and installment credit for over 60 years with consultants at 200 locations.
›› 23558 Lübeck, Hansestr. 14, Beratung/advice line: 0 800/88 33 880,

Mortgage lending specialists with consultants at over100 locations. Winner of many awards, publishes lots of specialist articles on financing.
›› Beratung/advice line: 0 800/-200 15 15 15,

Independent, English-speaking financial consultants based in Berlin. Specializes in advice for non-Germans on real estate purchases in Germany. Also arranges loans from over 400 partner banks. The web page has a free real estate calculator.
›› Prenzlauer Berg, Schönhauser Allee 149, Beratung/advice line: 030/56 83-75 35,

Independent consultants for all finance issues from finance and insurance to retirement planning and wealth management. 100 consultants in 90 locations.
›› 69168 Wiesloch, Alte Heerstr. 40, Tel. 06 222/-308 6000,

Independent financial advisor that’s part of the Wüstenrot & Württemberg financial services company. Clients are advised step-by-step from initial planning to real estate financing. Connections with 400 banks means lots of finance options.
›› Prenzlauer Berg, Schwedter Str. 263, Tel. 030/549 06 20 20,