Not surprisingly, given the current boom in demand for German residential property, the German market saw nearly 16% less forced sales of property in 2012 than in the previous year, or nearly 11,500 less year on year, according to the latest figures published by specialist publisher Argetra, who tracks court-ordered foreclosures from more than 500 legal jurisdictions across the country.
In total, there were 61,500 separate forced auctions ordered by local courts nationwide. All 16 federal states recorded less forced sales than the previous year, with the city-states of Berlin and Hamburg along with their surrounding hinterlands of Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein showing the greatest proportionate decreases. This is the fifth year in a row the number of foreclosure sales have fallen.
Foreclosure auctions raised €9.5 billion nationwide, a decrease of nearly €2 billion. This is partly due to the lower appraisals set on properties in the years 2007-2009, which could be up to 30% below current market values, a trend likely to continue for the next year at least, according to Argetra’s CEO Axel Mohr.
The number of auction days, too, fell across all federal states, with Hamburg showing the greatest decrease at minus 23.9%. The eastern states continued their downward trend of the last few years, down 19.1% collectively on the previous year. The western German states were down 14.3%, still healthier on average than in the east. But Germany’s most populous state of NorthRhine-Westphalia continued to top the list at 15,295 court orders, followed by Lower Saxony with 6,323.