THAT’S how you do it NOT “Help Developers to Make Obscene Profits” aka Help to Buy!
“The state of Berlin has bought back 670 apartments on the historic Karl-Marx-Allee from a private owner after decades of property privatisation in the German capital.
A 1950s prestige project for socialist East Germany, the grand boulevard that stretches from the city centre to Friedrichshain in the east has been the frontline of a months-long fight over gentrification and rising property prices.
The struggle erupted last November when the property management firm Predac announced its intention to offload 700 apartments on the road to Berlin’s largest property company, Deutsche Wohnen.
Fearing rent increases, tenants organised protest marches and hung banners from their apartments, eventually pushing the city senate to block the sale.
After months of legal wrangling, the senate confirmed on Monday that three blocs containing more than 670 apartments would instead be purchased by the state-owned housing provider Gewobag.
While the price of the sale was not confirmed by either side, the move to renationalise the buildings on Karl-Marx-Allee is likely to come at a steep cost, with estimates ranging between €90m-€100m (£80m-£90m).
Berlin’s mayor said the move was indicative of a wider strategy to reacquire housing stock sold to private investors in the 1990s, following rapid rises in rental costs in the city in recent years.
“Berliners should be able to continue to afford living in the city,” said Michael Müller. “That is why it was and continues to be our intention to buy up apartments wherever we can, so that Berlin can regain control of its property market.”