U.S. real estate investors are descending on Germany, Europe’s largest economy, hoping to find deals in apartment, shopping mall, and office buildings. There are bargain prices because of over building, high unemployment, and declining population. The trend really picked up speed in May 2005 when British private-equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. swallowed up Germany's largest residential real-estate company from E.On AG, including 140,000 apartments. By October last year, U.S.-based Morgan Stanley had bought eight office buildings in downtown Frankfurt. The percentage of commercial real-estate deals in Germany completed by foreign investors more than doubled in 2005 to 62 percent, with foreign buyers purchasing more than $24.6 billion of property, according to data tracked by real-estate advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.
Eric and I went to Berlin in November and it was amazingly cheap! Turns out that the city was built for 6 million, but only houses 3 million so the apartments are inexpensive to rent and own--especially on the East German side. Which by the way, if you haven't been to Berlin lately, East Berlin is soo cool. It's where all the young people are living and sort of feels like the Mission district in San Francisco on a Tuesday night. In fact, I even saw ribbity (the frog graffiti) on one of the buildings. We talked for months afterwards about buying something there. You can get a small flat for less than 100k. See for yourself.
Detail for picture is here.