by Stefanie Claudia Müller, Madrid

“We are moving on very thin ice,” believes Ingrid Hofmann-Schmitz. The successful auditor, art collector and real estate investor is old enough to know when economic crises are imminent: “I have never had such a strong feeling that we were only one day before 1929. A chaos builds up from global debt, real estate bubbles and refugee flows. The German government is the best example that nobody really addresses the dangers. I am not alone among my colleagues with this opinion, ”says the 70-year-old from the Rhineland. According to the specialist portal immowelt, the purchase prices for apartments in Germany rose on average from 1550 euros per square meter in 2011 to 2460 euros in 2017: “Such increases are not sustainable and are not justified,” says Hofmann-Schmitz.

What we have to expect from 2020?

Many speculators in Germany seem far away to see the bursting of the real estate bubble in the USA, the rescue of Greece and Portugal, and the rescue of the Spanish financial system. The latter was just six years ago. Greed at the time made people go blind. Now it is primarily the problems with the refugees that determine the politics of almost all European countries and that the economic problems due to the artificially inflated economy due to low interest rates can no longer be seen. “The German government in particular is losing track. The parallels to the Spanish real estate boom and the subsequent collapse that tore society apart are striking, ”says Leipzig-based German real estate investor Matthias Meindel, who believes that the German bubble has peaked:“ The impact is not be as hard as Spain, but in any case I expect residential property prices to decline in the next few years. ”He criticizes the non-real rental income for some residential construction projects, especially at his Leipzig location.

It all started like in Spain and it seems to end now. While almost all of Europe was in crisis in 2010, the German economy boomed, benefiting from the crises of others. The debts of German banks were largely paid off by the bailouts of European competitors, and the German banking and savings bank system was thus kept relatively stable. Only Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have never recovered from the global slump in the real estate and financial markets. The Germans, on the other hand, are doing economically better than they have for a long time. Going on vacation three times a year, two cars, home ownership have become standard for many in recent years.

The number of unemployed has shrunk to a minimum, as have the national debts. And when money gets scarce at home, German consumers are almost forced onto consumer loans, at least to those who have real estate as security and work: “Germans somehow think it is impossible for something like this to happen in Spain, and we are doing our best Way there ”, warns the German lawyer Tim Wirth, who lives in Mallorca, who is also experiencing overheating in the market in his adopted home country, also partly to blame for foreign speculators.

The state is reducing debts, the private sector increasing

This is also similar to Spain: the German state is reducing its debts and the Germans are building them up. Another problem of the German economy, which is not taken seriously enough: the financial system fluctuates. At the very front is the flagship, Deutsche Bank. This has already been classified as “in trouble” by the US stock exchange regulator and has been punished by many rating agencies with negative prospects for creditworthiness. Despite constant changes at the top, she does not manage to become profitable. 7,000 jobs are to be cut this year. Investors also have little confidence in the bank. They sell, the share price fell 37 percent this year. “I don’t understand what Ms. Merkel means by governing, but she doesn’t seem to see all these problems,” criticizes the tax consultant Hofmann-Schmitz.