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House Hunting in … Munich | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A two-story loft penthouse in Munich’s Old Town, only steps away from the Platzl, seen here, is on the market for $5.36 million. Credit Stephan Goerlich for The New York Times

Munich- This two-story loft penthouse in the Alstadt district, in the heart of Munich, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two terraces and a balcony. The 2,906-square-foot apartment is in the Alter Hof, or Old Court, an area that served as the first fixed seat of the imperial government in Germany in the 14th century, under King Ludwig IV.

The loft, which is in a 2006 complex with 12 apartments and an elevator, has views that are “magical,” said Arzu Ergül, the listing agent for the property at Engel & Völkers München. “It’s right in the city center, but you hear nothing. It’s very quiet and idyllic on the terraces.”

The home is two apartments combined, so it has four entrances — two on each level. The main entrance is in an airy living room furnished with a designer sofa, chaise longue and pillows, along with a pendant lamp from Bocci. (Furniture is included in the asking price.) Floors throughout are oak parquet or tile. The living room opens to a terrace furnished for lounging. To the right of the main entrance are two bedrooms with a shared bathroom and a utility room with a wine fridge.

Beyond the living room are the dining area and a custom kitchen from Bulthaup, with stainless steel counters and appliances from Gaggenau, Miele and Novy, as well as a teppanyaki grill. The dining room has an aluminum black-lacquered, wax-polished table and a black aluminum and gold-leaf pendant lamp from Stchu-Moon. The dining room opens to a terrace for dining and has a staircase up to a lounge with a built-in bar and table made by the German carpentry studio Eham.

A staircase in the living room leads up to a hallway to the master bedroom and bathroom. The bedroom, which offers views of the Frauenkirche cathedral, has a red-patterned accent wall and a Bang & Olufsen television; the home’s sound system is also from Bang & Olufsen. A walk-in closet has spacious drawers built by Eham. The bathroom, which opens to a balcony, has a rain shower head, a tub and a Skygarden pendant light from Flos.

The home has under-floor heating and district heating, as well as a system to control lighting, heating and other features remotely or automatically. Two parking spaces are available in the garage. The land under the building is leasehold, fully paid through the end of its term in 2070. At that time, Ms. Ergül said, “the owner of the apartment will be paid 100 percent of the apartment’s value by the free state Bavaria, which is the owner of the building.”

The apartment is a short walk from the Marienplatz and Munich’s city hall. Nearby are the Viktualienmarkt, a large food market; the Bavarian State Opera; and the shops and restaurants of Maximilianstrasse, one of Munich’s four royal avenues. There is public transportation at the Marienplatz, and it takes about 30 minutes to get to the international airport by rail or car, Ms. Ergül said.

Munich has grown increasingly international and has a very high standard of living, along with the highest home prices of any large city in Germany, said Constantin Graf von Preysing, a managing director at Engel & Völkers München. During the past decade, Mr. Graf von Preysing said, “prices have almost gone up 80 percent to 100 percent.”

In the past year alone, prices have increased by 4 to 10 percent in much of Munich, said Daniel Ritter, the chief executive of Von Poll Real Estate. The neighborhoods most attractive to foreign home buyers tend to be in the city center or close by, such as Bogenhausen, Lehel, Haidhausen, Maxvorstadt or Schwabing, he said.

Despite the robust growth, the high end of the housing market, which includes detached homes, duplexes and terraced houses, has seen slower price growth, he said, adding, “We expect further increases regarding luxury apartments.”

In premium areas, Mr. Ritter said, apartments can sell for between 6,000 and 17,000 euros a square meter, or about $602 to $1,706 a square foot; in good locations, prices are between 4,500 to 13,000 euros a square meter, or about $452 to $1,304 a square foot; and in average locations, prices range from 4,000 to 7,000 euros a square meter, or about $401 to $702 a square foot. And “there could always be some unique luxury properties exceeding the mentioned top prices,” he added.

On average, loft apartments sell for between 11,000 and 17,000 euros a square meter, or about $1,104 to $1,706 a square foot, Mr. Ritter said. The penthouse loft in the Alter Hof, however, is an outlier: It is priced at about 18,500 euros a square meter, or $1,856 a square foot.


Foreign home buyers in Munich frequently come from Britain, France, Spain and Italy or the Scandinavian countries, brokers said. But they also see buyers from North America, South America and Russia, as well as from Middle Eastern countries. And the number of buyers from China, brokers said, appears to be growing.

There are no restrictions on foreign home buyers in Germany. All real estate sales and transfers are handled by a notary; the fee is typically about 1.75 percent of the home’s sales price and includes title searches and value added tax, said Tobias Just, a professor in the International Real Estate Business School at the University of Regensburg. The buyer and seller typically split the real estate commission, which works out to about 3 percent each in Bavaria, said Michael Cabell, the chief executive of Munich Sotheby’s International Realty. The total closing costs paid on a sales transaction by a buyer, including the notary’s fee and the commission, is between 10 and 12 percent, Dr. Just said.

Many foreign home buyers pay in cash; this must be done through an account at a bank in Germany. In principle, foreign home buyers could obtain a mortgage from a German bank, Mr. Cabell said, but the maximum financing typically available is 50 percent of the home’s purchase price.

And new regulations have made it more difficult for buyers from countries that don’t use the euro currency to obtain mortgages, Dr. Just said: “Many German banks have withdrawn from this market now.”

Munich site: muenchen.de
Bavarian government: bayern.de
Bavaria tourism: bavaria.by
German real estate association: ivd.net

German; euro (1 euro = $1.08)

The annual property taxes on this home are about 1,500 euros, or $1,620, Ms. Ergül said. There is a monthly maintenance fee of 1,186 euros, or about $1,281.

The New York Times