To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail... So when I first started to ask myself if there is a bubble brewing in German real estate, it seemed at least possible. After all, prices were increasing rapidly, while rents are pretty stable. Surely this is a sign of trouble? Actually, no. I just wrote a small article for the FAZ (in German) arguing that
- prices of existing homes are still lower in real terms than in 1995
- rental yields are healthy - around 4-5%, and not 2% like in Spain at the height of the bubble
- relative to incomes, German real estate is too cheap
- bank credit is being offered with care -- there are no 110% mortgages to illegal immigrants
All of this looks more like a market recovering from decades of relative stagnation, and not like a bubble. What I really want to write about is why the German real estate market is actually an important source of competitive advantage for German industry... but there are all these revisions on my desk...