- German residential property investor Phoenix Spree Deutschland posted a rise in annual profit after it boosted rental income, despite rent caps being imposed by authorities in Berlin.

Pre-tax profit for the year through December increased 33% to €37.9 million, as gross rental income climbed 5.7% to €23.9 million and its portfolio valuation rose 5.2% to €768.3 million.

The EPRA net asset value total return per share was 8.8%.

Phoenix Spree Deutschland held its annual dividend steady at 7.5 euro cents per share.

Collected rental income per square metre as at 31 December fell by 16% reflecting the implementation of the final phase of the Berlin rent cap, or Mietendeckel, in November.

Contracted rental income grew by 4.1%.

A final legal ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court on the Mietendeckel was anticipated in first half of 2021.

'The company and its legal advisors remain of the view that the Berlin rent-cap is unconstitutional and will be removed,' Phoenix Spree said.

The Mietendeckel would continue to materially impact collected rents in 2021 compared to 2020 unless the legal challenge was successful, it added.

On the positive side for the company, it said a decreased availability of rental stock, exacerbated by the Mietendeckel, continued to support market rents.

'We have adapted our strategy to mitigate any short-term impact on the portfolio and maintained our strategic optionality as we await a successful challenge of the new Berlin rent controls,' chairman Robert Hingley said.

'Further progress on condominium splitting, combined with an acceleration in condominium sales at a premium to book value, highlights the intrinsic value within the portfolio.'

'We remain confident in the longer-term demographics for Berlin residential rental market.'

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