Annual Report 2019

Portfolio Management Strategy

On the one hand, we split our German real estate portfolio into the “Strategic” portfolio, which focuses on value-enhancing property management and the “Operate” and “Invest” subportfolios. On the other, there is the “Recurring Sales” portfolio, which is aimed at selling residential property ownership to tenants, owner-occupiers and capital investors, and the “Non-core Disposals” portfolio, which includes locations and properties that are not absolutely essential to the Group’s further strategic development.

In the “Operate” subportfolio of the “Strategic” portfolio, we aim to further increase the value of the properties by carrying out sustainable maintenance measures, increasing rents and reducing vacancy levels. In the “Invest” subportfolio, we are generating additional added value by implementing an extensive program of investments that responds to climate protection concerns and focuses on investments in energy-efficient renovation. Most of our investments are in heat insulation for facades and roofs, as well as in new windows and heating systems. When it comes to investing in our apartments, our measures to improve residential standards are based on our customers’ needs. As well as modernizing and renovating bathrooms, installing new flooring and offering modern electrical installations, this also includes the demand for senior-friendly fittings.

We want to create new homes in our portfolio in the future as part of our densification strategy, using a combination of vertical expansion and new construction on existing land. New construction and vertical expansion projects are frequently realized using a standardized series construction system with the help of pre-configured segments, making them much quicker to complete. A serial approach for new construction work using pre-configured elements allows standardization and scaling at a low cost, while ensuring reliable project implementation at the same time.

The portfolio management strategy also includes the activities of the development business on land purchased specifically for this purpose, adding another profitable element to Vonovia’s value chain. The acquisition also results in the transfer of substantial expertise between the development business and Vonovia’s established new construction and vertical expansion activities. The development business includes the construction of owner-occupied apartments for sale to investors and owner-occupiers, as well as the construction of rented apartments to be managed by the company itself. These activities will continue to be performed under the established BUWOG brand in the future. The activities aimed at the privatization of owner-occupied apartments focus on Austria, in particular.

We break our overall portfolio down further into the “Germany”, “Austria” and “Sweden” portfolios. This allows us, on the one hand, to take account of specific national features while enabling us to identify synergy potential between the individual countries on the other. The home ownership rate in Sweden, for example, is higher than in Austria and much higher than in Germany, but comparatively low in a European comparison. Whereas our new construction measures in Germany are aimed primarily at expanding the portfolio of homes to be managed by the company itself, we are increasingly developing condominiums in Austria for sale to investors and owner-occupiers. In the future, we also aim to apply our established expertise gained from the development business in Germany and Austria to an even greater extent in Sweden.

Maintenance covers the measures that are necessary to ensure that the property can continue to be used as intended over its useful life and that eliminate structural and other defects caused by wear and tear, age and weathering effects.
Non-core Disposals
We also report on the Other segment, which is not relevant from a corporate management perspective, in our segment reporting. This includes the sale, only as and when the right opportunities present themselves, of entire buildings or land (Non-core Disposals) that are likely to have below-average development potential in terms of rent growth in the medium term and are located in areas that can be described as peripheral compared with Vonovia’s overall portfolio and in view of future acquisitions.
Recurring Sales
The Recurring Sales segment includes the regular and sustainable disposals of individual condominiums from our portfolio. It does not include the sale of entire buildings or land (Non-core disposals). These properties are only sold as and when the right opportunities present themselves, meaning that the sales do not form part of our operating business within the narrower sense of the term. Therefore, these sales will be reported under “Other” in our segment reporting.