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Joined Nov 11, 2007
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$GS & $BX Call the Top of the German Housing Market as They Hit Bids on Assets

Blackstone Group LP (BX) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) are among private-equity investors selling the most German housing assets since they plowed into the market in 2005, a sign that price gains may have peaked.

Investors plan to sell at least 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) of apartments and shares of property companies this year, according to company statements and people with knowledge of the deals. Private-equity firms divested about 3.8 billion euros of housing in 2007, when there were no share sales, data from broker Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. show.

“We’re using the attractive market to clean out and reposition our portfolio,” said Olaf Claessen, director of asset management at London-based Round Hill Capital LLC, which owns about 2.5 billion euros of German homes. “We don’t think there’s an urgent need to exit, but certain properties have gained in value and could make sensible exit scenarios.”

The German housing market has changed since private-equity firms started investing at the beginning of the last decade, creating opportunities for buyers with different objectives. Investors like Blackstone, the world’s largest buyout firm, and Goldman initially struggled to make good on bets that they could buy apartments in bulk and then raise rents or resell at a profit to individuals….”

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