Berlin, Germany

Capital Trendsetter

Iyna Bort Caruso

Where the Berlin Wall once divided the city, modern condominiums, office towers, boutiques and restaurants now stand. In the 25 years since the fall of the wall, the government invested money and resources to elevate its capital city. Berlin has reinvented itself as a global brand.

Post-unification Berlin is young, entrepreneurial and a trendsetter in the arts. Living standards are high and purchasing power is climbing.

The city is a stronghold of artistic expression as well as architectural diversity due to its history as the capital of a kingdom, an empire, a republic and a country. Berlin is made up of a dozen boroughs or districts. In the heart of the former western zone is tony Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, an area with some of the highest per-capita incomes. The district contains a wealth of historical sites such as the Charlottenburg Palace and Berlin Opera House as well as classic 19th century townhouses and generously sized apartments. The neighborhood of Steglitz-Zehlendorf is consistently sought-after, and demand for property has remained strong. The most expensive residential areas are in the western part of this district such as Dahlem and Wannsee.

In the former eastern zone, the area of Prenzlauer Berg attracts executives to its well-preserved period residences. The quarter of Hansaviertel features residential modernist mid-century buildings designed by a collection of iconic architects including Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Alvar Aalto and Oscar Niemeyer.

After German reunification in 1990, foreign buyers came in and snatched up bargains, and an influx of newcomers from other German states as well as other countries created some housing shortages. The result has been steady uptick in the market ever since with buyers realizing that Berlin real estate represents good value compared to comparable European cities.