German houseboat investments

05.04.16

A steady stream of orders is coming in from international property investors in Germany for a different kind of property investment – houseboats.

International property agency, Black Label Properties, says buyers are turning to Schaff Houseboats for leisure purchases and investment.

Director, Achim Amann, tells OPP.Today that houseboats are gaining in popularity with international investors, headed by British and German buyers.

“We have 3-5 clients per month asking us for houseboats from Europe. The reason... there is no better deal living on the 360-degree water than in Central Berlin on a houseboat.

“British and Germans are most interested. Germans, as they use it as their weekend home and the British use it as a buy-to-let investment. The British usually go for the Blue Edition of Schaaf, where the average price inclining extras, is €210,000.”

Prices for the houseboats start at €199,000 and go up to €1.2million, with clients spending around €230,000-€250.000, says Achim Amann.  Some models, at 65square metres, are the size of terraces.

“The main benefits are quality of life, a unique living proposition, as there are very limited moorings in Berlin, a very good property location and very low price decrease. We usually sell used houseboats only 10-20% cheaper than the new ones.

“Rental income is over 6% per year of the net purchase price if owner does a buy to let and uses the houseboat a few times per year (which is ideal for British clients), they get the VAT back from the tax men. In Germany we have 19% VAT, so buyers paying €200,000 can get 19% VAT cash back.”

Demand for houseboats from international buyers is set to continue in 2016, says Achim Amann. “We expect 20 sales this year on houseboats, as Schaaf has entered the houseboat market for €200,000. Last year, Schaaf only had €400,000 houseboats on the market. The other houseboat companies have less quality finishing and are more expense.

“Also, Schaaf offers €56 per square metre of net living space starting at €199,000. This compares to Berlin property prices at €3,500 per square metre - a considerable cheap price for what you get.  These houseboats can be used the entire year, have modern energy systems and water supply the entire year. There is no problem with ice on water etc.”

From DIY houseboats on the River Spree to high end luxury ‘floating apartments’ on Humboldt Island, a 30-minute commute from Berlin city centre, a growing number of people are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle in the city.

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