Publication Social Movements / Organizing - City / Municipality / Region - Commons / Social Infrastructure - Wohnen Who Owns the City?

An analysis of property owner groups and their practices on the Berlin real estate market





Christoph Trautvetter,


March 2021

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Banner am Neubau der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung bezieht Stellung im öffentlichen Raum
The RLS-Cities banner on the facade of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung’s new headquarters makes our stance more than clear. Foto: Stefan Thimmel, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung

Almost half of Berlin is owned by a few thousand multimillionaires. Who Owns the City?, a new study published by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, represents the first systematic evaluation of property ownership in Berlin and the various business models involved. It cracks open the black box of large private property owners, revealing hitherto unknown property owners with more than 3,000 housing units as well as those who are below this limit and about whom little is known so far.

Christoph Trautvetter is the head of the RLS project “Who Owns the City?” and an expert on progressive tax policy.

“The study dispels the myth of the small private landlord ‘next door’ as the main player on the real estate market, just as much as it dispels the myth of home ownership as universal, social security”, summarizes the study’s author Christoph Trautvetter, head of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung’s “Who Owns the City?” project. Because almost half of the city belongs to a few thousand multimillionaires, the ongoing, continuous price rises on the housing market bring them massive returns, sometimes of more than 20 percent per year, with little to no effort on their part. The study also compares business figures and practices of the listed housing companies with their state-owned and cooperative counterparts.

Who Owns My House?

Property owner research in the online annex to the study

Tenants can also dive into the research data with just a few clicks at The website contains further data on the owners presented in the study and on more than 200 other players on Berlin’s real estate market, making it easier for tenants to search for further clues about the property owners based on their address or the name of the company.


  • Christoph Trautvetter, author and project manager of “RLS-Cities. Wem gehört die Stadt?” at the Rosa Luxemburg-Stiftung, +49 (0) 176 786 754 80
  • Stefan Thimmel, Housing and Urban Policy Officer at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung