German Property Market – Rules, Regulations and Taxation

Legal Restrictions

There are no specific legal restrictions on cross-border real estate investments in Germany for foreigners. Normally a valid passport and an adequate capital will be sufficient to purchase property. It should be noted that private investors will not be given residential status merely by acquiring property in Germany, as is the case in some other European countries.

With regard to indirect real estate investments, however, some general rules apply. They are laid down in different laws and are binding for both foreign and domestic investors.

Ownership in Germany

The owner of a property is generally in possession of both the plot of land and any buildings upon it. The rights to ownership and inheritance are guaranteed by law.

If an investor acquires a single flat in a multi-family house, it is a matter of property ownership. However, this property ownership does not entail ownership of the land and building associated with the property. Instead the investors obtain a co-ownership share of the jointly owned property which the flat is a part of. 

According to private law, the owner …

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Property Taxes

According to the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI), property taxes should be raised drastically to diversify tax revenue sources and to address issues of rising wealth inequality. As the government prepares its 2020 budget for 2020, increasing property tax is considered.

The trade union affiliated think-tank proposed ideas that represent a major shift in the tax system and the Government has always manages to neglect changing property taxes because of the associated political unpopularity.

Currently, the Government collects much less property tax revenue than most other European Union countries. Revenue from property taxes equates to only 23.3% of gross domestic product (GDP), while the average tax revenue in the EU amounts to 38.9% of GDP. In comparison with the rest of the EU, Ireland is much more dependent on VAT and excise tax revenues. VAT and excise tax generally have a greater negative impact on the less well off than the impact on wealthy.

Property taxes are the most difficult for the extraordinarily wealthy to avoid according to NERI’s senior economist Tom McDonnell. He continued to denote that underlying assets …

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Proving property tax exemptions

The Irish Revenue Commissioners, a government funded agency, is responsible for  a multitude of financially related activities; some of these include customs, excise, and overall taxation. In 2013, Revenue changed the way that Local Property Tax (LPT) was collected for all residential properties in Ireland. 

This tax is meant to hold the owners of residential or rental properties accountable for the payment of tax on all of their assets. Beyond just these two groups, people who have a lease of twenty years or greater, local authority/social housing organizations, or a person acting as a personal representative for a deceased owner are also responsible for paying the LPT. 

LPT can be charged on homes that are unoccupied or uninhabited, if it is a suitable place to be lived in. If it is not up to par with regular living standards, no LPTs will have to be paid on the property. There is a great deal of opinion that comes into play when deeming a property livable or not, which is why the  Irish Revenue Commissioners requires that some type of documentation …

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Institutional Investors Hurting First-Time Buyers

Big time investors in the housing market are affecting first time buyers and their ability to purchase homes. Large scale investors are buying lots of hundreds of houses at a time and renovating them and re-selling them for profit. Home buyers are feeling the pressure and are unable to find homes in their price range. Fianna Fáil is calling on the current government to investigate the current tax incentives for investors and believes that could be a way to make significant changes.

The Department of Finance has agreed to do a review on how much institutional investors pay in taxes. However, Department of Finance has already begun releasing statements defending their current stance on taxes. They acknowledged that institutional investors only make up a small proportion of the housing market. A small proportion still can affect hundreds to thousands of people. According to Savills Estate Agents, approximately 3,000 properties were purchased in blocks by institutional investors last year. Many homebuyers searching for homes contribute large investment funds to increasing difficulty in getting a house.

Nicola McCann and her partner from …

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Fine Gael’s Tax Regime Under Scrutiny

Ireland is known throughout the world of having a very low corporate tax rate, which draws in many multinational companies. In addition, foreign property investment funds are also paying very low taxes and are walking away with massive profits. Many believe this is hurting the average taxpayer and are calling for an increase on taxes to foreign investors.

A main critique to this is the current housing shortage and how it may encourage less houses being built. However, this fund is buying large chunks of land and holding it to draw prices up and then selling these properties at premium prices. The housing shortage is due to the lack of affordable housing, not high-end luxury houses. Pearse Doherty, finance spokesperson, has been raising this issue publicly after he learned that only approximately 13 million Euros were collected on taxed profits out of the hundreds of millions that the companies earn. One of the tax loopholes that companies use is the Fine Gael’s tax regime. These loopholes allow them to avoid cooperation taxes on rental income and tax on gains if …

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The Tonight Show on VMT, 14th January 2019

We were pleased to see our points about property tax on the Tonight Show on VMT given time to get worked through. The full show is available online at Virgin Media.

"If your income went up 100% would you want more tax money? Of course you would. So stop being hypocrites." – @karldeeter disusses property tax and asset millionaires. #TonightVMT

The Tonight Show, Monday to Thursday at 11pm on Virgin Media One. pic.twitter.com/Cl2cYxpxXW

— The Tonight Show (@TonightVMTV) January 15, 2019

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McWilliams Ireland: Are we in a property bubble? (2nd November 2017)

David McWilliams’s show ‘Ireland’ looked at the issue of property prices here and asked if we are in a ‘bubble’. He spoke to Karl Deeter from Irish Mortgage Brokers about this who made two points. The first was that we are too late to change the outcome of the property cycle, the second was that the biggest land hoarders in the state is the state itself and that Government should release land to flood the land market and drive down the primary costs of construction.

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The most expensive places to buy in Ireland

The most expensive property sold in 2017?

€8.4 million was paid for a house in Fintragh of Shrewsbury Road according to the Daft.ie. Five streets have had transactions of €3 million or more in the last 18 months: Shrewsbury Road, Ailesbury Road, Temple Gardens, off of Palmerston Road in Dublin and Westminster Road in Foxrock.

Only one percent of all homes in Ireland are worth €1 million and over according to the Property Price Register.

Highest number of over a million home transactions is Herbert Park in Ballsbridge.

Total spent on housing since 2016?

€800 million was spend on housing alone since 2016 according to the Property Price Register. That averages around €12 million every week paid for in housing. The average price for a house the first quarter of 2017 was €230,000.

Ten years ago, however, the average home was worth around €370,000. After the crash, the average price of a home was around €165,000 five years ago.

Total of all Ireland’s Property worth?

If you would combine all the valuations of all the properties in Ireland it will …

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Should there be a tax on hoarding land?

There is evidence for property owners hoarding land because there is an expectation for rising house prices in the future. However, this only contributes to the housing shortage crisis. If the budget for 2018 included such a tax for property owners who choose to hoard land, it will give a financial incentive to build on the land now.

Property taxes are supposed to reflect the market value on the properties but all the valuations have been halted leaving a lot of room for political unrest.

Increasing the property tax, according to John Fitzgerald from the Irish Times, will give the government extra proceeds to fund for housing. This will give incentive to better utilize properties and give extra cash to the government to help out with the housing shortage.

It will also allow people with homes help the …

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