"The farm prices are going through the roof right now," says Sebastian Fritzsche.
He must know.
Because he manages a large piece of land.
A good 52 hectares.
So about 70 soccer fields.
In the fertile Wetterau north of Frankfurt.
He has been responsible for “Das Kugelhaus in Butzbach” for twelve years.
A fund that has existed since 1468 and that is administered by the parish.
A period of time in which the Reformation, various wars, political upheavals and hyperinflation threatened wealth.
Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
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It's still there anyway. It hasn't even gotten less. The value has even increased. Thanks a lot of discipline. This is important to Pastor Jörg Wiegand: "Some think we are sitting on enormous fortunes and should finally spend that on church music, youth work and much more." most expensive architectural monument in the city, the three-aisled Gothic St. Mark's Church. “It will, so one has to put it soberly, remain a grave of millions, but it is absolutely worth preserving as a cultural monument.” Since neither the regional church nor the monument office provide enough money for preservation, the fund is essential.
He not only owns 52 hectares of arable land, meadows and garden land, but also commercial properties and single-family houses, leased on long leases, and considerable cash assets. However, the basis of the preservation of wealth has been the arable land over the centuries. The knowledge that this is the best way to protect assets from inflation and other adversities of current affairs has got around more since the financial crisis. The Kugelhausfonds has always known: What remains when paper money is worthless? What can we live on then? From the field, of course, and so the fund manager Fritzsche can only watch his fund gain in value. "We used to talk about cents per square meter of arable land, today it is good and happy to be up to five euros," says the doctor of law,who is primarily a judge and is currently seconded to the Federal Constitutional Court. He is also a member of the church council in Butzbach.
The fund does not benefit from the price increases for the time being. Because that is also part of long-term asset preservation: Don't sell quickly just because a price is rising. “What should we do with the money if we can't get decent farmland for it again?” Asks Fritzsche. There was a major land sale to Aldi a few years ago. However, it has not yet been possible to reinvest the millions in income in agricultural land and is now lying around with moderate interest rates. The Kugelhausfonds tried to acquire long-term attractive assets through real estate auctions - in vain. “Our limit was exceeded by others,” says Fritzsche. As long as he does not have to pay negative interest for his gilt-edged investment, he does not see any pressure to act,to invest the money elsewhere, for example on the capital market.
The situation is more difficult when arable land becomes building land and fund assets are to be sold.
“We keep having this discussion, but we don't actually sell if we don't get adequate arable land in return,” says Fritzsche.
So there has been no sale of arable land for twenty years.
Especially since the awareness of the church council for the valuable arable land has increased a lot in recent years and the arable land is to be protected from being sealed.
Preservation of value comes before returns
The yields from the farmland are modest. Retention of value comes before returns. The fund receives a lease of 20,000 euros per year. The real estate brings 30,000 euros, the money in the account 120,000. Every year Fritzsche draws up a budget for what should happen with the money. The church council, chaired by Pastor Wiegand, then has to make a decision. 75,000 euros have been earmarked for the general maintenance of the church every year. Part of the historic city wall of Butzbach is on church grounds. 600,000 euros were needed in the past few years for their renovation, which the fund largely carried alone. Around 700,000 euros were due for the bell cage. The regional church took over 65 percent, the rest of the funds.Keywords: