Sparkasse boss: Expropriation debates harm Berlin’s economy

Sparkasse logo on the roof of the Alexanderhaus

Sparkasse Berlin’s new business in commercial real estate financing fell noticeably.


(Photo: dpa)

Berlin Shortly before the election of the Berlin House of Representatives, the chairman of the board of the Berliner Sparkasse, Johannes Evers, showed its political colors in an unusually clear manner. On the occasion of the presentation of the half-yearly figures, he rejected initiatives that provide for the socialization of housing companies.

On September 26th, parallel to the general election and the election of the House of Representatives, Berlin will also vote on an initiative aimed at the socialization of housing companies in the capital.

“In order for Berlin to be able to build on the years before the pandemic in the long term, the city must be convincing, especially when it comes to investment and location decisions,” said Evers. Instead of debating expropriation, new living space should be created.

The top dog among the credit institutions in the capital, the Berliner Sparkasse, has also felt the consequences of this debate. New business in commercial real estate financing fell by around one billion euros to 673 million euros in the first half of the year compared to the same period in the previous year. The institute speculates that this is partly due to a loss of trust. Professional real estate developers have withdrawn. In addition, in view of the increasing competition, the Sparkasse is paying more attention to the quality of the commitments.

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Things went better in private real estate finance. New business increased by 13 percent to 586 million euros, while the loan portfolio for private mortgage lending increased by more than 20 percent to 4.84 billion euros.

Compensation well below market value

Everyone in Berlin agrees that there is not enough affordable living space. The sponsor of the popular initiative “Initiative Deutsche Wohnen & Co” assumes that the problem can be solved by socializing the holdings of all private housing companies with more than 3000 apartments.

She estimates the amount of compensation for the socialization of around 200,000 apartments at 7.3 billion euros to 13.7 billion euros. The value should be set well below the market value. According to the initiative, the amount of compensation could be refinanced from the rents.

So far, only the left of the Berlin parties have spoken out in favor of the referendum. The appeal of the Sparkasse boss is aimed particularly at them: “Everyone must do everything to get the Berlin economy going again, to convince potential investors and thus to create and secure jobs.”

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