Luxury doesn’t need a lot of space

Van B in Munich

Bay windows and mobile walls should make smaller units look spacious.

(Photo: Bauwerk Capital)

Cologne When prospective buyers ask Michael Reiss whether he only brokers luxury properties or also smaller apartments, he can only smile. Because the two are by no means contradictory: “Luxury doesn’t have to be big. Rather, it’s a question of equipment,” says the Managing Director of Sotheby’s International Realty in Munich. Of course there are still buyers who are looking for a country house with extensive grounds or a villa directly on Lake Tegernsee.

“However, we see the trend that more and more people want to downsize,” says Reiss. This is not due to the availability of space – you don’t have to live in 60 square meters even in the prime locations of German metropolises – but above all to the life phase. Anyone who travels a lot for work, lives alone or as a couple, whose children have already left the house, is also happy with less space.

location before size

When the surface moves into the background, however, the rule applies: no compromises. That starts with luxury argument number one, the location. “For our buyers, the best locations in German cities are of particular interest,” says Ariane Linden, Managing Director of Engel & Völkers Berlin. In the capital, for example, this is the Phoenix renovation project on Ludwigkirchplatz in Charlottenburg, where an old building from the 1920s is being lavishly renovated for luxury buyers.

Such flagship projects are not only to be found in Berlin. In Hamburg, the wealthy clientele is particularly interested in the Kristall high-rise building at Altonaer Hafen and in the condominiums in the Elbphilharmonie. Frankfurt awaits with the new Senckenberg district between the Westend and Bockenheim.

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In the Ostend, the Hafen-Park-Quartier HPQ attracts wealthy buyers with urban living culture. Five building complexes are being built directly on the banks of the Main, next to the European Central Bank, which are intended to attract buyers with penthouses, two-storey town houses and private gardens.

Hafen district in Frankfurt

Internationally, luxurious apartments with a small floor space have been common for some time, and they are slowly finding their way into German metropolises

Another key selling point: the equipment. Luxury buyers generally value top quality and various amenities. If the living space is manageable, this applies even more. This includes, for example, your own sauna, technical gadgets such as built-in sound systems or light installations that optimally illuminate the furthest corners.

Intelligent systems that control heating, lighting, air conditioning, surveillance cameras and blinds have long been part of the basic equipment in the high-price segment.

The en-suite bathroom, which leads directly from the bedroom, usually has marble or fine stone flooring. The fittings come from well-known brands. A concierge service is also part of the basic equipment in the smaller apartments. Those who are satisfied with less living space do not want to do without spacious rooms.

A flexible floor plan is therefore important for luxury buyers, say real estate agents unanimously. Whether a 50 square meter, open living and dining area or separate rooms for the home office: everything must be possible.

>> Read here: Why the currently most expensive apartment in Germany is still available

A prime example of this is the “Van B” project that is currently being built in Munich-Schwabing, named after the star architect Ben van Berkel, who designed the building. The 142 apartments, which are between 33 and 168 square meters in size, should be ready for occupancy in the course of the year. Purchase price: 689,000 euros are due for a nearly 38 square meter one-room apartment on the fourth floor with a four square meter balcony.

Abroad shows what’s possible

The project planners show what is possible in a one-room apartment: the buyers can choose between different furnishings and thus configure their property themselves. The interior, such as the wardrobe and bookcase, is attached to the ceiling and floor using rails and can therefore be moved as desired.

In addition, the desk and dining table as well as the beds are integrated directly into the modules: They can be easily folded in and out. Instead of distributing different living needs to different rooms, everything takes place in an area of ​​33 to 44 square meters.

Large window fronts and well thought-out lighting make even smaller apartments appear large and spacious. That’s why even the smallest apartments in Van B have a bay window. Outdoor areas such as balconies or terraces are also a must-have in the luxury segment. In Van B, for example, the residents share the roof garden with a panoramic view from the Olympic Park to the Alps. There are also various services to make everyday life easier: In-house parcel logistics store online orders and food deliveries. The underground car park is equipped with sufficient e-charging stations.

Movable walls for more space in the Van B

The bed can be folded up and the seating area pushed back.

(Photo: Bauwerk Capital)

If you want to know what is already possible when living in a limited space, you should take a look at the foreign metropolises. With micro-apartments in Manhattan, New York City shows how to make clever use of little space. In Carmel Place, in the middle of Manhattan, people live in mini apartments of 23 to 34 square meters. In order to create storage space, the architects thought upwards: In the bathroom, for example, they put in an intermediate ceiling that creates a kind of attic.

The real estate developer Mori Living is setting new standards in Tokyo. In the 330-meter-high “Aman Residences” building, residents can access several amenities at once: such as an in-house spa, room service that, among other things, brings breakfast in bed, and a doctor’s surgery. Japan also has a signal effect when it comes to living space: a one-room apartment in Tokyo has an average size of 13 square meters, according to the apartment rental exchange Wunderflat. For comparison: in New York City it is 37 square meters.

“We often see lavish luxury abroad. German buyers tick differently,” says Sebastian Fischer, CEO of Primus Immobilien AG. Instead of golden faucets, they value German quality. The Westphalian family company Kaldewei, for example, has teamed up with tiny house provider Vagabundo.

The bathrooms in the Tiny Houses are equipped with washbasins and shower surfaces from Kaldewei. Mobile mini houses may not be the bestseller for luxury buyers – the property prices in prime locations are simply too high for that – but they show where the path could lead: Manufacturers adapt their products so that they also work in small spaces .

More: Luxury architecture sets new priorities with sustainability

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