Hamburg grows beyond borders

Joint stand at the property trade fair Expo Real 2011

Hamburg grows beyond borders


Europe’s largest trade fair for commercial real estate and investment EXPO REAL 2011 will showcase the international real estate industry 4 – 6 October 2011 in Munich. Even though the exhibition space will remain constant with 64,000 square metres in six halls, the fair’s impact will still be bigger as halls will be more densely occupied. Covering 555 square metres, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg holds the fair’s largest stand. Organised by HWF Hamburg Business Development Corporation, the joint stand showcases the development perspectives the Hamburg Metropolitan Area has on offer for the real estate industry. The "European Green Capital 2011" presents itself as a liveable metropolis and emphasises its leading role as cultural capital by a film on the "Elbphilharmonie" project. Growth prospects for the whole of Northern Germany are expected from the planned fixed crossing of the Fehmarnbelt.

"The Free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg offers to its citizens a high quality of life and manifold market opportunities to companies. The Hamburg Ministry of Finance provides high-quality properties for the design of the growing metropolis and thus actively supports the city’s future-oriented development strategy", says Dr. Peter Tschentscher, Minister of Finance of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. "For Hamburg’s real estate industry, quality is a key factor of success. Those who pursue long-term strategies will still be able to do good business in turbulent economic times", adds HWF Managing Director Uwe Jens Neumann.

Growth prospects for the real estate industry are currently excellent in Hamburg, with housing boosting the dynamic market even further. The Senate of Hamburg and Hamburg’s seven districts have agreed in their "Alliance for Dwelling" to provide conversion areas and no longer marketable land for new construction and to issue building permissions more quickly. The number of flats is to be ramped up to 6,000 units per year.

Positive signals also come from the commercial real estate market. On the office real estate market, a market volume of 450,000 square metres is anticipated for 2011, with 210,000 square metres already leased in the first six months (+13.5 per cent compared to the 2010 reference period). The market of logistics properties experienced a particularly strong development. With 392,000 square metres, sales for the first six months 2011 exceeded the prior-year period by 50 per cent. Even the all-time high of 800,000 square metres seems now possible for 2011. Transactions volumes are forecasted to total more than two billion euro in 2011.

The Hamburg real estate market plays a special role in Germany. Several landmark projects are being planned, and the list of challenging new developments keeps getting longer. Hamburg’s HafenCity, however, remains the city’s flagship project, both for residential and commercial properties. The North and West of HafenCity is already home to more than 1,700 people, and 7,200 jobs have been created there so far. From autumn 2012, the new tube line U 4, and later the concert hall "Elbphilharmonie" will further increase the attraction of HafenCity to companies and people alike. In 2011, yet another phase of construction started at Überseequartier. And with the revision of the master plan for HafenCity’s east, the area’s development and completion have been defined for the first time, reaching as far as the Elbe bridges. 

Hamburg wants to decouple growth and change from resource consumption. Prime examples are found at Wilhelmsburg, model region for the "Leap across the Elbe river" in the frame of the International Building Exhibition IBA 2013. What is already taking shape on the Elbe island, is still music of the future at "Mitte Altona": if the long-distance train station Altona moves north to the Diebsteich rapid rail station in 2020, 75 hectares of land will provide the ground for new residences and offices. At least 13 hectares on the eastern rim of the railway property will be open for new developments even without the transferral of the station. By 2012, first bulldozers are to roll.

Hamburg’s real estate chances are not limited to city borders. The Fehmarnbelt link will allow Hamburg to grow beyond frontiers. The fixed Baltic Sea link between Germany and Denmark is no longer a dream, but will soon be a fact. In Copenhagen, engineers are working hard to make it possible that drivers and train passenger won’t have to cross the waters by ferry between Puttgarden and Rødbyhavn by 2020.  In Copenhagen, engineers are working hard to make it possible that drivers and train passengers will no longer have to cross the waters by ferry in 2020.

The new traffic artery will stimulate the economy. According to a study conducted jointly by the universities of Kiel and Copenhagen in early 2011, the improved infrastructure will support and stimulate cross-border clusters. These positive effects have already been experienced by the Øresund link between Copenhagen and Malmö in Sweden, with sectors such as logistics, but also environmental and information technologies and life sciences experiencing an unparalleled upswing. Since the bridge’s inauguration in 2000, border traffic has quadrupled. Once realised, the Fehmarnbelt link will open up to companies wanting to expand numerous new locations in both countries that were formerly difficult to reach, making company settlements along the axis Hamburg - Copenhagen much more attractive.

The chambers of commerce in Hamburg and Lübeck also see the favourable prospects. In their joint paper on the chances of the economic corridor along the A 1 motorway, they state in regard to the Fehmarnbelt link: the location quality of the catchment area Hamburg – Malmö will be “significantly improved” and act as a “key for growth and employment throughout the region.”

44 exhibitors and three sponsors will share Hamburg’s joint stand at Expo Real 2011. In addition to the traditionally well-presented investors, developers, and financiers, almost all areas of the real estate industry will be represented at the Hamburg stand. For further information on the fair stand and the participating exhibitors, please refer to the Internet and the website A smart phone trade fair App will be available soon.