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Frankfurt am Main: Increased employment fuels demand for more housing

The Commerzbank Tower in downtown Frankfurt soars 259 meters above the cityscape. For more than 20 years, it has been the Germany’s tallest office tower. In the first few years of the new millennium, construction of residential towers intensified in the Main metropolis – and has picked up pace once again over the past three years. In 2017, for example, new residential developments included the Henninger Tower (140 meters), a former grain silo. When it comes to skyscrapers, Frankfurt is increasingly developing into Germany’s “Big Apple.”

Developing taller buildings is certainly an effective approach to ease the growing demand for housing in Frankfurt. According to one forecast, the city will be short of around 24,000 apartments by 2020 – unless something is done to increase housing density density by then.

The main reason for the surge in housing demand is employment growth. Frankfurt is an established financial center and a key manufacturing center – nearly one in ten employees work in the city’s growing manufacturing sector. Frankfurt’s strongest industrial sector is the chemical industry, which has been expanding continuously since 2010, delivering a substantial increase in jobs. And, thanks to ongoing employment growth in the service sector, the city has a larger proportion of of jobs relative to the size of its population than many other cities. Frankfurt has just over 700,000 inhabitants, but it is home to 560,000 jobs subject to social security contributions.

The unusually high proportion of jobs is largely due to the fact that more than a third of employees regularly commute into the city from surrounding areas. Naturally, this results in heavy rush hour congestion on arterial roads and public transport, and is certainly just one of the many reasons why ever more buyers are choosing high-end apartments in downtown districts. A central apartment in one of Frankfurt’s new residential towers, complete with stunning views of the city’s skyline and imposing banks, has a certain flair. But there are also purely economic benefits: London’s significance as a financial center will diminish in the wake of Brexit, which means that the Main metropolis is strengthening its position as a major real estate center. Buying a condominium in a residential tower in Frankfurt is about more than owning an exclusive apartment – it also offers the potential for strong and sustainable asset appreciation.

In one of the latest, major real estate market rankings, Frankfurt was awarded a straight “A” for population growth, but it scored “AAA” for employment growth. Unsurprisingly, this combination of positive factors is driving strong growth in the residential high-rise market. For instance, Grand Tower is currently being developed and will reach an impressive height of 172 meters. The building will soon be Germany’s tallest residential tower. Even though it is scheduled for completion in 2019, some 97% of its apartments have been sold – confirmation of the high demand for upscale living in Frankfurt.