Berlin, European capital of cool, is no stranger to the term ‘up-and-coming’. Just 30 years ago the city was completely unrecognisable from what it is today. Many neighbourhoods have transformed from gritty ghettos into amazing places to live. If you’re looking to buy property in Berlin, consider carefully which area you want to invest in. This article will focus on areas that are likely to provide the best return on your investment.
Which neighbourhoods have already had their time?
Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain are examples of massive change. Once part of East Berlin, many artists flocked to these areas when the wall fell. They were able to occupy abandoned properties, which had previously been owned by the East German government. These areas are now chic, international tourist hotspots, and the high property prices reflect the popularity.
On the west side of Berlin, the neighbourhoods of Kreuzberg and Neukölln have undergone the biggest transformation. When Berlin was divided, ‘Kreuzkölln’ was a gritty suburb, on the very edge of the city. With reunification, this area suddenly found itself in the centre. Until fairly recently these districts were predominantly inhabited by turkish migrants, who arrived during the 60s to rebuild the city after the war. Now they are some of the most desirable (and expensive) places to buy property in Berlin.
Is Berlin still developing today?
Yes, Berlin is still transforming, and faster than most European cities. Berlin as we know it is very young and it takes time for every neighbourhood to evolve, particularly in a city that spans such a huge area. Even near the city centre, there are some relatively cheap areas that have just recently started to attract investors.
Which neighbourhoods in Berlin are up-and-coming now?
In 2020, Berlin’s most up-and-coming neighbourhoods are Moabit, Wedding, Lichtenberg, Treptow and Weißensee. They’ll see big changes over the next decade, particularly in the property prices. They are great areas to invest in.
Moabit is technically part of Mitte and so is very central, but has not attracted much attention until fairly recently. It’s just a 5-minute bus journey from both Tegel Airport and Berlin Hauptbahnhof. The future plan for Tegel Airport makes buying property in Moabit a fantastic investment opportunity. You’ll find all the amenities you need on Turmstrasse, the main high street, where the old Schultheiss brewery was converted into a shopping mall and hotel just last year.
As well as an endless choice of Döners, you’ll find true hidden gems of Berlin’s food scene. Tônis makes the freshest and tastiest vietnamese food in Berlin, for a fraction of the usual price. And the lebanese falafel at El Reda is unrivalled. Believe me, I have tried A LOT of falafel in Berlin. Garcia and Spontan provide locals with specialty coffee and homemade baked goods. And for those who want to experience Berlin’s nightlife, two of the best clubs in the city are within walking distance, Heideglühen and Trauma Bar.
Wedding is, without doubt, one of Berlin’s most up-and-coming districts. Like Moabit, Wedding will benefit massively from the future Tegel Project, and so is a fantastic place to buy real estate. Traditionally industrial and working class, Wedding now contains neighbourhoods that rival the atmosphere of Kreuzberg and Neukölln.
The Sprengelkiez and the area around Utrechter Strasse, for example, are filled with trendy independent shops as well as cafes, restaurants and cocktail bars. A 10-minute subway ride takes you to the heart of Berlin Mitte. And Prenzlauer Berg’s famous Mauer Park is just a short tram ride. For the full story, check out our post dedicated to Wedding.
Lichtenberg’s architecture is characterised by contrast. Beautiful old village buildings stand next to GDR skyscrapers. Over the last 10 years, the area has attracted families and a young crowd, looking for more space and cheaper rents than neighbouring Friedrichshain. These factors, combined with a lot of new housing construction, have transformed the old-school-district into the new kid on the block.
Rummelsburg, in south-west Lichtenberg, has become a very artsy neighbourhood. On Hauptstrasse you’ll find the studio of renowned artist Tomás Saraceno, and, just opposite, legendary nightclub Sisyphos. The Futuro House is located a bit further down the Spree, as well as the Funkhaus, a state of the art music venue which used to be the radio broadcasting centre of the GDR.
Treptow is a large area to the south-east of Berlin, with many different characteristics. In the north you have Alt-Treptow, which is connected to Kreuzberg and Neukölln. It’s full of beautiful old buildings and is already super trendy. Venture further south and you’ll find calm residential areas with spacious family houses, lots of green space and beautiful views of the Spree.
Furthermore, Treptow is developing into a vital research and industrial location. Germany’s largest science and technology centre and Berlin’s largest media park are located in Adlershof, where almost 7000 students of Humboldt University research topics like green energy and biotechnology. New construction projects and the development of vacant industrial space will continue to form Treptow in the coming years. Finally, it’s just a short drive to the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport, due to open this year.
Weißensee literally means ‘White Lake’ and is a fantastic neighbourhood for young people and budding families. There’s great development potential, due to the amount of available space – a very unique characteristic for a neighbourhood close to the city centre.
Just a short tram ride from Prenzlauer Berg, Weißensee is renowned for its artistic might. It’s home to the Weißensee Academy of Art, which attracts students from all over the world. For fans of modern architecture, Joseph Teichmann’s Holländerhof and Bruno Taut’s settlement on Buschallee are part of the cultural heritage of Weißensee. Furthermore, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s last work before his emigration to the USA, Haus Lemke, lies hidden on the shore of the Obersee, on the border of Hohenschönhausen. You can take a guided tour of this L-shaped house, which now functions as an exhibition space.