Our Focus

the Metropolis

Like Germany‘s major metropolitan areas, we find ourselves on a growth trajectory and are currently the third largest publicly listed real estate company in Europe. Most of our residential properties are located in attractive German metropolitan areas and conurbations, and we use this strong position to maintain our holdings while developing forward‑looking housing concepts, thereby creating sustainable value for our customers and shareholders.

About 41.000 people moved to Berlin in 2017.*

*Stand: 30.06.2018

We will invest around 1.2 billion euro in our properties until 2022.

The top seven cities in Germany need around 88.000 new apartments until 2020.

»How a space looks without anyone in it is irrelevant; all that matters is how it looks when occupied by people.«

These are the words of the architect Bruno Taut, one of the most well-known proponents of the New Objectivity movement. Among other things, he was commissioned by the Gemeinnützige Heimstätten-, Spar- und Bau-Aktiengesellschaft (GEHAG) to design the renowned “ Horseshoe Estate” in Berlin- Britz, which remains under the ownership of Deutsche Wohnen to this day. This unique historic monument is a UNESCO World Heritage site by virtue of the fact that the collection of buildings has made a notable contribution towards improving the housing and living conditions of a broad cross-section of the population. Here, as elsewhere, Deutsche Wohnen is endeavouring to provide attractive living conditions for those living on Berlin Modernist housing estates, and also enabling fans of architecture and tourists to experience these historic monuments while ensuring the preservation of important elements of Berlin's history.


Bruno Taut 1880 – 1938

Horseshoes have long been considered to be a good luck symbol in many cultures.

“The estates designed by Bruno Taut stand for a more humane world, for social responsibility, for light, airy, sun-filled housing.”

Helge Pitz, architect

Historic monuments on UNESCO World Heritage sites owned by Deutsche Wohnen

“Horseshoe Estate” (Hufeisensiedlung) Britz

Carl Legien Housing Estate (Wohnstadt Carl Legien)

White City (Weiße Stadt)

Siemensstadt Housing Estates (Ringsiedlung Siemensstadt)

Living in Germany: The trend towards
greater urbanisation continues

There is no doubt that the future belongs to our cities. Approximately 70% of all people worldwide will be living and working in urban areas by the middle of this century – at least according to the United Nations.1 Even in Germany, it is clear where things are headed: away from rural regions and small towns, and towards conurbations and metropolitan areas.

Last year, the German Economic Institute in Cologne published some eye-opening data on the subject. Approximately 500,000 individuals are expected to move to Berlin alone in the next 20 years. This is equivalent to a rise in the population of 15%. The projected growth rates for Munich and Frankfurt/Main are likewise impressive: 11% and 14%, respectively.2

The driving force: Young people

There are three factors which are helping to drive this trend: Young people are moving to the city to pursue their education or training and subsequently to find a job. More elderly citizens expect to benefit from better care and more recreational facilities and social interaction in the city,3 yet often prefer to live on the outskirts of core metropolitan areas.4

Then there are those coming from further afield, from outside of Germany, who are also often drawn to urbanised regions, a phenomenon which is reflected in the increasing internationalisation of the country‘s cities and conurbations.5

Significantly more people are moving to major cities than are moving away from them. It is above all young people who are responsible for the considerable influx of new inhabitants to “A”-ranked cities.6

Total balance of migration according to age 2015.7


Cities offering higher quality of life

A further important driver here is that cities at the beginning of the 21st century offer a higher quality of life than was the case just a few decades ago, in many cases thanks to their metamorphosis from sites of industrial activity to services locations and centres of knowledge. Conurbations and metropolitan regions are today greener, healthier and less cluttered than in the past.9

The consultancy firm Mercer publishes annual rankings of the cities offering the highest quality of life from a worldwide perspective. Western European and also German cities are among the top performers. According to the results in these rankings, “ Auckland (3) and Vancouver (5) are the only cities among those ranking highest which are not located in Europe”.10

The rankings are awarded on the basis of 39 criteria, which include political, social, economic and environmental considerations. The results came as no surprise to the experts at Mercer: “The strong performance of Western European cities is not surprising. Particularly when compared to other countries at an international level, they offer an excellent quality of life, whether in terms of housing, recreational activities or the availability of consumer goods.”11 The infrastructure in these cities – in particular, those in Germany – is better than in rural areas. Healthcare, local public transport services and the accessibility of airports are also important factors for ensuring a high quality of life.


However, the great popularity of urbanised living space also has its disadvantages. Housing is in short supply in major German cities and conurbations. In really short supply. Approximately one million flats are lacking in Germany, above all in the country‘ s metropolitan areas. And the market has responded accordingly. Prices for flats have risen by approximately one third in recent years, with rents increasing by 15%.12

Housing is being built in Germany – but, still not to the extent required. Most recently, 4% more – adjusted to reflect the changes in prices – has been spent on new houses, modernisation measures and maintenance work. This is equivalent to an amount of € 189 billion, or 61% of all of the money invested in construction in Germany.13 However, this is still not enough to enable the housing sector to build housing in greater quantities and at a faster rate. Here is just one example: The Institute for Economic Policy at the University of Cologne has calculated that the average amount of time required to process an application for planning permission in North Rhine-Westphalia is 184 days, with 20% of all such applications spending more than nine months in the administration‘s intrays.14

Because the space available in conurbations and metropolitan areas is finite, the goal in the future will not be “simply” to build new housing; it will be to take a more intelligent approach to doing so. Thus, both the creation of new districts which extend the city and re-densification measures will play a significant role. There is considerable potential for redensification – and the advantages of such an approach are obvious: the necessary infrastructure is already in place and the investor is not called upon to purchase new land to build on – resulting in cost savings.

In all of this, the attractiveness of the cities and districts in question must be maintained, which also means taking account of the fact that the way in which people want to live is changing. Above all, tendencies towards “smart homes” or “sharing”, demographic change or trends – such as the trend towards smaller residential units – should not be ignored because they have a crucial role to play in determining the quality of life which can be attained in the urban areas of tomorrow and beyond.

Making large investments with
great attention to detail

EUR 780 million – that is the extent of Deutsche Wohnen‘s investments between 2015 and 2017. This has enabled us to increase the value of our properties and to provide new housing. The projects in question are as varied as our holdings themselves. A look at some “building sites”.

Diversity and quality with a waterside view

Deutsche Wohnen‘s construction projects are of course implemented according to building plans; however, strategic considerations also played a role in the case of its Daumstraße property in Spandau an der Havel. The company‘s “Diversity of Residential Units” strategy provides for the construction of as many different forms and types of residential unit as possible over the coming years, with the goal of encouraging diversity among the subsequent residents so as to attract young people and older individuals, families but also single people. The residential units in question number 224, have between one and five rooms and vary in size from 45 to 147 square metres. The second strategy – “Good Views and Good Prospects” – champions an open, stepped building design which ensures good views of the water and the surrounding landscape. Our guiding principle for this project is the attainment of the highest possible level of quality, and this manifests itself in many ways: car-free spaces, playgrounds, waterside views, a variety of floorplans or diversity of architectural style – to name just a few examples. With this in mind, we have taken care to consider the landscape and natural environment in the context of the planning and construction work for this project. The individual buildings are arranged in such a manner as to incorporate the surrounding landscape and to ensure that the existing vegetation remains undisturbed to the greatest possible extent.

Investment volume: approximately €60 million

Architectural interplay

Districts which are full of life offer a high quality of life. It all comes down to finding the right mix: old and young, living and working space, all manner of lifestyles … Precisely that was the stated goal of the project for the refurbishment of the residential and commercial building at Argentinische Allee 221 in Berlin-Zehlendorf. The building was constructed in the 1970s as part of the final phase of the urban planning measures implemented on the “Onkel-Toms-Hütte” (“Uncle Tom‘s Cabin”) estate originally designed by the architects Bruno Taut, Hugo Häring and Otto Rudolf Salvisberg and built between 1926 and 1931. The modernisation measures placed great value on maintaining the link between the older parts of the estate and the newly constructed elements, which could be achieved by designing a clinker brick base and painting the facade. Now that the work has been completed and the additions made, more space is available and the building comprises both small and larger residential units, with wide hallways, doorways and bathrooms making it easier for elderly residents and those with physical disabilities to use the property. What is more, this project shows that it is possible to create housing which is both affordable and of high quality as a means of realising our vision of the city of the future, a vision based on the principle of sustainability. Which is why we have applied for gold standard certification of the building from the German Sustainable Building Council [Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen – DGNB], which will announce its decision in the course of 2018.

Investment volume: approximately €4.9 million

"Everyone pulled together!"

Living well involves more than just having a place to live. It means being part of a living environment in which one‘s practical day-to-day needs are met, for example through local supply structures in the narrower sense, day-care facilities or even doctor‘s surgeries – such as the dental laboratory of Dr Ulli Voß and his wife Dr Anika Voß at Argentinische Allee 221 in Berlin-Zehlendorf.

Dr. Voß, why did you decide to open a practice in Zehlendorf?

My wife and I have been living in Zehlendorf for 15 years and we wanted to set up shop here because we are very fond of the borough and the people who live here. The building Deutsche Wohnen offered us was the right choice, and has become a real local pearl now that it has been modernised.

Is it right to say that the a dental laboratory is rather more than a conventional dentist‘s surgery?

That‘s correct. We make everything ourselves – from the root to the crown, from accounting to performing oral surgery to working in our own specialist dental laboratory. Already – just three months after taking over the premises – we have 15 people working for us, and more will certainly be joining those ranks.

Three months is a short space of time in which to set up such a large practice …

That‘s right. And it was only possible because everyone pulled together. Everyone includes Deutsche Wohnen, who helped us a lot, for example in terms of the price-performance ratio with regard to the rent, which made the starting-up process easier on us; the competent assistance provided to us in planning the technical details; the speedy conclusion of the contractual negotiations; and the very pleasant personal interaction. We also did a lot of the work ourselves: My wife handled the interior design aspects and most of what needed to be done we did ourselves – with the help of our friends – from laying the floors and tiles to installing the cabinets …

In the spirit of good neighbourliness

The Johannisthal district in south-east Berlin is the location of one of Deutsche Wohnen‘s housing estates from the 1920s. Its construction was commissioned by the “Wohnungsverein Eisenbahnernotsiedlung”, a housing association which provided emergency accommodation to railway workers – who in this case had left their homes in territories which after World War I became part of Poland.

Deutsche Wohnen has carried out extensive refurbishment work on the estate – for example the building facades, partially windows, stairways, ground pipes and header pipes as well as open spaces. As is always the case with buildings of such architectural value, much work and effort went into every little detail, with the original paint colours being identified and samples of the plasterwork being taken from the facade during the inspections of the property, for example. In this context, we were also able to unearth much information of historical interest, such as the discovery that in those days buildings were constructed quickly and yet to a very high standard. Given that the estate was originally built to house settlers from Silesia, it also comprised stables for livestock, for example, and great value was placed on creating the sense of a close-knit community, as is evidenced by the communal buildings and central “Eichenhof” (oak courtyard). We were able to restore this sense of “neighbourhood” by adding new benches, barbecue areas and a playground, and the estate today remains a mostly quiet and family-friendly place. The architect who designed the estate was Walter Kaas, who also left his mark – in the modern style typical of the 1920s and 1930s – on other parts of Berlin.

Investment volume: approximately €20 million

Adding new residential units to existing buildings

Deutsche Wohnen‘s Freiherr-vom-Stein-Straße property is an impressive one, with an approximately 180 metre- long facade consisting of nine entryways. Last year, Deutsche Wohnen managed to create a new living space here in the form of an attic conversion, a development which only becomes apparent upon a second glance and which called for great architectural finesse. Extensive modernisation measures have also been carried out. The new residential units are boast varied floorplans, giving the tenants – many of whom work on the nearby hospital premises – creative freedom in designing the layout of their homes. Therefore, they are ideal not only for couples, families and single people but also for flat-shares. All of the rooms have separate access and are more or less the same size. The attic conversion resulted in the creation of a further 17 flats. The 1- to 5-room flats range in size from 40 to 100 sqm. In addition to the construction of the new flats, the house entryways were redesigned, bike stands set up and a central area designated for the disposal of household waste. The tenants‘ gardens belonging to the ground-floor flats and the redesigned inner courtyard with a newly created playground also add to the quality of the residents.

Investment volume: approximately €7.4 million