From Commerzbank's point of view, the corona pandemic is further fueling the construction boom in Hamburg.
“The Corona crisis has reinforced the desire for home ownership once again.
The trend is moving out of the city and into the green, especially properties with gardens and balconies were in demand in 2020, ”said Christian Hassel, Divisional Director for Private and Business Customers in Hamburg, on Wednesday at the presentation of the annual figures for the metropolitan region.
The volume of construction financing at Commerzbank in the Hamburg metropolitan region increased by 1.2 billion euros - 12.2 percent - to a total of 6.4 billion euros, said Hassel. Nationwide, Commerzbank has increased its business in this area by ten percent compared to 2019. An energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and partly state-subsidized construction method is becoming increasingly important.
In particular, the trend reversal towards the home office is also leading to the desire for larger apartments or houses.
"The people of Hamburg are currently very much concerned with their own property," said Hassel.
However, Commerzbank does not see the risk of a real estate bubble, despite the continued sharp rise in new construction costs.
The market is backed by solid demand: “Our construction financing is still based on a high share of equity that private construction investors bring with them.
We do not see an increasing proportion of debt capital. "
Overall, the pandemic is spurring forms of capital and value preservation beyond traditional savings - also driven by the fact that more and more financial institutions are charging fees - so-called negative interest rates - on current and overnight accounts. Equity investments in particular are increasingly in the focus of private investors, said Hassel. Commerzbank increased the number of its securities savings plans in the Hamburg metropolitan region by 21.3 percent. The deposit volume for securities increased by 8.4 percent to eight billion euros.
The number of Commerzbank customers in the Hamburg metropolitan region rose by 7,800 in 2020 to a total of 425,000. In the past year, corporate customers in particular were given massive support against the background of the pandemic in obtaining state subsidies or loans from the state KfW Bank, said Stefan Otto, Divisional Director for Corporate Customers in Hamburg. Commerzbank provided a total of 8.2 billion euros in KfW Corona loans nationwide, 492 million of which in the Hamburg region. "We will only see the real effects of the bankruptcies," said Otto. Commerzbank is prepared for this with provisions and a high equity ratio.
When it comes to negative interest rates on cash deposits, Commerzbank intends to continue to act flexibly in dialogue with its existing customers. "We try to minimize these effects for our customers through intensive individual advice," said Otto. The most important means of doing this is to switch from overnight money and current accounts to other, more suitable forms of investment. For new customers, Commerzbank currently has an exemption limit for deposits on current and overnight money accounts of 100,000 euros.