Berlin rents rose 3.1 per cent a year in 2011 and 2012, a slower gain than the previous two-year period, a benchmark residential rent index for the German capital shows.
The Berlin Mietspiege index, published last week by the Berlin Department for Urban Development, shows an average annual rise of 4 per cent for 2009 and 2010. Analysts expected an increase of 2 per cent to 4 per cent a year based on estimates compiled by Berlin landlords GSW Immobilien and Deutsche Wohnen, said Thomas Rothaeusler, an analyst at Commerzbank.
Germany's rental indices are among the most important drivers of housing prices in cities where they apply, because landlords use them as a guide to set rents. Owners are able to raise rents more sharply in the 12 months following the publication of an index. Cities such as Munich, Cologne and Hamburg also publish indices to help regulate rents.
"The Mietspiegel is the most important tool used to adjust rents," said Rothaeusler. "Deutsche Wohnen, for example, raised its like-for-like rents by 4 per cent after the Mietspiegel came out."
Deutsche Wohnen, Germany's largest property company by market value, has about 54 per cent of its apartments in Berlin, according to its 2012 annual report. GSW, the fifth-largest by market value, operates only in the city. Gagfah, the third- biggest, has about 11 per cent of its apartments in the city, according to its website.
The index, while influential, is not legally binding, said Daniela Augenstein, a spokeswoman for the Urban Development Department.