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Hanover Property Market Report 2008: Strong Upward Trend

The development of the commercial property market in Hannover Region is exceptional: Hannover's inner city is one of Germany's top shopping addresses, the logistics market is booming, the turnover of office space is higher than ever before. These are the highlights of the Property Market Report 2008, published jointly by Hannover Region and renowned consultants BulwienGesa AG.

The figures emphasise that Hannover, the State Capital of Lower Saxony, is again one of the key regional locations in the 2008 property market. The survey takes an in-depth look at the commercial property market, in the following categories: office, retail, logistics, health and culture, research and science. "The results are well worth looking at, " says Dr. Georg Martensen, Head of Hannover Region Trade and Industry Department. The Region and BulwienGesa have collaborated for the sixth time to report on how the property market has developed.

Significant industry trends:

Hannover inner city attracts more visitors than ever. The Bahnhofstraße/Niki-de-Saint-Phalle-Promenade has approximately 15, 500 pedestrians per hour, making it the most highly frequented shopping street in Germany for the first time. As a result, peak rents have climbed 12 % to 180 Euro/sqm. The opening of the Ernst-August-Galerie mall consolidates Hannover city's status as a premium shopping location.

Strong demand for office properties. Office space turnover during 2007 reached a new record value of 136,000 sqm; the vacancy rate fell from 5.6 to 4.9 %. This record is expected to be broken during 2008. Turnover in the first six months of 2008 topped 85,000 sqm. Worthy of special mention are major new building projects initiated by the insurance sector.

The logistics market is booming, with Hannover gaining ground in Germany. Since 2003, more than 3,300 new jobs have been created. Last year, turnover of space for logistics amounted to 333,000 sqm. The share of major projects initiated by property developers is growing.

The health and culture sector has continued its steady development. The plans for the new Euro 100 million Hannover Region Clinic at the Siloah hospital site represent a long-term improvement in medical services. Special mention is deserved by the project to reconstruct Schloss Herrenhausen at a cost of approx. Euro 20 million, with completion set for 2012.

The areas is enjoying ongoing development as a location for research and science. In addition to two projects already under construction, the Laboratory for Nano and Quantum Engineering at Leibniz University and the animal clinic of Hannover Veterinary College, a number of other beacon projects are also scheduled: two examples are the Centre for Clinical Studies and the Boehringer Ingelheim research centre for veterinary pharmaceuticals, each of which represent an investment of Euro 35 million.

The positive trend experienced in this sector in recent years has continued overall. Despite the international sub-prime financial crisis, turnover in commercial property transactions hit a new record value of Euro 3.25 billion during 2007. This represents a year-on-year increase of 33 %. Andreas Schulten, Personnel Director at BulwienGesa, looks optimistically into the future: "Comparatively inexpensive rents and stable returns make Hannover an interesting property location, even during phases of downturn, " is his analysis. "This is why investors will focus on the city in the future as well."

The Ernst-August-Galerie shopping mall, which opens on 15 October, will contribute to this effect. "This development comprises around 150 retail outlets in an excellent location. Hannover city centre is now definitely one of Germany's top shopping addresses, " says Hans Manninghoff, Head of Hannover's Trade and Industry Department. The Bahnhofstraße/Niki-de-Saint-Phalle-Promenade, and its close neighbour, the Georgstraße, are already two of the 10-Most-Popular shopping streets in Germany. Mr. Manninghoff does not anticipate any fall in rents. "Despite the opening of an additional 30,000 sqm retail space in the Ernst-August-Galerie, we expect retail rents in the inner city to remain stable."

The office property market is also on a growth curve, with prospects predicted to remain favourable in coming years. More than 40 % of all persons employed in Hannover Region in 2007 had an office job, two years previously this figure was 38 %. A growth of 5 percentage points is anticipated by 2011. "A record turnover of 136,000 sqm was achieved in 2007, up 32% on the previous year, " reports Dr. Georg Martensen, Head of Hannover Region's Trade and Industry Department. "In 2008 we expect the 140,000 sqm mark to be attained. Turnover reached 85,000 sqm in the first six months alone." Taking these figures into consideration, experts forecast the vacancy rate dropping to 4.4 %. During 2007 it fell from 5.6 % to 4.9 %, a figure already well below the average of comparable regional locations (9 %).

Overall, Hannover's office market represents a total volume of approx. 3.7 million sqm. Between 2007 and 2008 the building volume rose by 11 % to 99,000 sqm. Of this, 90,000 sqm are new buildings. The insurance industry has been particularly active. The largest project currently in planning is the 53,000 sqm HQ of HDI Gerling in Lahe, scheduled for completion in 2011.

Thanks to its central position, Hannover is going from strength to strength as a logistics centre. Since 2003, more than 3,300 new jobs had been created due to new corporate arrivals and operational expansions; in 2007 area turnover reached an impressive 333,000 sqm. At present there are more than 400 hectares of land available in Hannover Region for further developments in the logistics sector. "The two motorways, the A2 and A7, mean the city boasts outstanding transport connections. A quarter of the EU population is only a 9-hour drive away, representing a market of around 90 million people, " explains Trade and Industry Department Director, Dr. Martensen.

Hannover Airport is an excellent gateway to the world's air traffic network. Other logistics nodal points are the train formation facility in Seelze and the transhipment facility at the Nordhafen inland port. "The largest current project is the bauwo terminal which opened this summer at the Airport Business Park in Langenhagen. Halls with 55,000 sqm of space are now occupied by major logistics operations, such as Fiege and DHL."



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