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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