Frankfurt luxury flat prices jump 25% in one year on hopes of Brexit banking bonanza

The skyline of Frankfurt, Germany on April 15, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT (REUTERS) - The prices of new luxury flats in Frankfurt have jumped by 25 per cent in the past year, according to fresh data, fuelled by market hopes that thousands of London bankers will move to the city after Brexit.

The rise puts the price of an upmarket two-bedroom flat at up to roughly 1 million euros (S$1.6 million), making the small city, which has struggled with the reputation of being among Germany's dullest, also one of its most expensive.

Britain's plan to leave the EU has caused banks and money managers in London to look at moving parts of their business elsewhere to enable them to sell across the continent without additional costs or trade hurdles after Brexit.

Frankfurt and Dublin have emerged as popular choices.

The rise in property prices in Frankfurt, shown in city data comparing the price of newly built apartments in the first six months of 2017 with a year earlier, comes as Frankfurt prepares to build 20 new skycrapers within five years to provide offices and apartments.

There are currently more than 30 high-rise buildings on its skyline.

While a long-running property boom driven by low interest rates has prompted such building, the potential migration of bankers from London has increased investor enthusiasm, and prices, this year.

"We are ready for Brexit," said Mark Gellert, a spokesman for Frankfurt town hall's planning division. "We can imagine that the people who come to Frankfurt due to Brexit will take up this offer of high-end apartments."

The data showed that the price spiral is concentrated on new luxury apartments, while other properties in less fashionable locations remain affordable.

Dublin has also seen house prices jump, by more than 11 per cent in the year to June, according to Ireland's Central Statistics Office. House prices in London during that time rose by less than 3 per cent.

A recent study commissioned by Frankfurt's chief promoter, predicted that there would be 10,000 new bankers in the city within four years and that their arrival could create tens of thousands of additional jobs, from estate agents to building workers.

Some, however, are sceptical that this will happen.

"You can see the optimism that Frankfurt will profit from Brexit already filtering through in rising property prices,"said Christine Kuhl, a head hunter with Odgers Berndtson in Frankfurt. "But the hiring of new staff has yet to start and I don't expect it until Spring next year. Some of the optimism about thousands of extra jobs is also overdone. The real impact of Brexit may be more modest."

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