Research - MAY 2, 2017

German cities dominate Q1 2017 European investment leaderboard

by Richard Fleming

Real Capital Analytics’ European commercial real estate investment report for Q1 2017 has been covered already on this website (see news report dated 27 April) but here’s a little extra detail.

Germany is the premier European destination for real estate investors, its role as a safe haven in this period of political uncertainty coming to the fore, and has extended its lead over the United Kingdom. The country’s Q1 2017 transaction volume number of €16.5 billion, up 33 percent on the year before, is its strongest start to the year on record.

The office sector was the principal beneficiary of investor interest in German commercial real estate in the first quarter, and nine German cities featured in RCA’s list of Europe’s Top 20 investment destinations, as detailed below.


  1. London
  2. Berlin
  3. Munich
  4. Paris
  5. Frankfurt
  6. Madrid
  7. Hamburg
  8. Oslo
  9. Amsterdam
  10. Stockholm
  11. Prague
  12. Leipzig
  13. Ruhr Valley
  14. Birmingham
  15. Vienna
  16. Stuttgart
  17. Cologne
  18. Helsinki
  19. Milan
  20. Düsseldorf


Just like some of those US metro areas might sound strange to non-US investors, so too might “Ruhr Valley” to people who thought that Germany was just the Top 3 cities, or Top 5 or Top 7. Ruhr Valley is number 13 in the Top 20 list. 13 is lucky for some; I used to live there so I know where it is.

RCA says that the term covers the towns and cities from Duisburg in the west (where the River Ruhr joins the River Rhine) to Dortmund in the east, and beyond. It’s a big area, the Ruhr Valley, and sometimes the River Ruhr is nowhere near. The Germans call it the Ruhrgebiet or Ruhr area, and that might be a better descriptor. Some of those towns and cities have attractions for real estate investors; some, blighted by structural and unresolved change in Germany’s industrial heartland, don’t.

Here goes, from west to east, northern and southern routes:

  • Duisburg, Oberhausen, Bottrop, Gelsenkirchen, Wanne-Eickel, Herne, Recklinghausen, Castrop-Rauxel, Dortmund.
  • Duisburg, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Essen, Wattenscheid, Bochum, Dortmund.

Other towns and cities just outside these corridors include Hagen, Hamm, Hattingen, Iserlohn, Schwerte, Soest, Unna, Witten and Wuppertal.

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