Cologne Property Market and Real Estate Guide

(Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)

Photograph of the Cologne skylineCologne is a smart city in western Germany and lies on the banks of the Rhine River, where it comes with bags of allure for the buyer or renter. Well known as the German gay capital, it is just 100 km / 62 miles from the Belgian and Dutch borders, and despite being one of Germany's main cities, only has a population of around a million.

The city is best known for its monumental cathedral, the Dom, and the Rhine River, which meanders right through the city centre. The best of the real estate is on the west bank, where apartments are in good supply. The northern and southern suburbs of Cologne are also appealing places to live.

The price of real estate in Cologne is about average for Germany, being more expensive than northern cities, but cheaper than those of the south. Demand for choice real estate in Cologne is high and it is a good investment to buy here, since locals tend to hold onto their property.

There are no obstacles for foreigners buying in Germany, although you may find the banks require a high deposit. Keep an eye out for apartments labelled as 'grosszügige räume' (large rooms - which would be expensive to heat), or those that are labelled 'für schnellentschlossene' (for quick decision makers).

Renting Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartments in Cologne are relatively expensive, but usually well turned out. There are some nice places available, often being suitable for the entire family, with two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and living room. Heating, fitted kitchens, TVs and wireless Internet come as standard.

Some of the best serviced apartments in Cologne are on the west bank around the Rudolfplatz, in the Belgian Quarter. This is an historical area with flash apartment blocks and lots of shops and bars.

Most apartments can be found though estate agents and will typically offer a yearly or six-monthly lease. You can also check out the newspapers or local websites. Those advertised as 'von privat' are not through agencies.

Buying Apartments and Houses

Foreigners can buy in Cologne without restriction and city property is generally a sound investment due to the demand. The west has the most sought-after housing and apartments, where prices are higher than in the rest of the city.

Figure on about ten percent of the property price for additional fees, which include 3.5 percent property transfer tax, a notary fee, administrative costs, and the agent's commission, which is typically around six percent and is negotiable. Sellers are subject to capital gains tax if the property is sold within ten years of purchase.

Real Estate Agents

The major real estate agents in Cologne have staff that can speak English, but ensuring they do before going ahead, as well as finding a local lawyer that also has a command of the English language, is a must. Going the real estate agent route when buying and selling in Germany is the de facto and recommended way for foreign buyers.

Some Cologne real estate agents:

Marc Metzmacher
Address: Hohenstaufenring 55, Cologne, D-50674, Germany
Tel: +49 0221 280 6738
Featuring top real estate in and around Cologne, with a focus on high-end condos.

Address: 40-44 Aachenerstrasse, Cologne, D-50674, Germany
Tel: +49 0221 963 9000
E-rent has 16 years of experience in furnished rentals in Cologne.

Address: Lindenstrasse 14, Cologne, D-50674, Germany,
Tel: +49 0221 924 2820
Rheingold is an experienced German realtor with years of know-how in buying and selling real estate.