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To Hell with the Gardens

Dr. Thomas Beyerle
Dr. Thomas Beyerle
Managing Director of Catella Property Valuation GmbH

Creative names for properties tend to be few and far between. But the name normally stays with properties throughout their life just like with people, somewhere between a USP and a social prognosis. An appeal for greater imagination by Thomas Beyerle.


Germany is a developing country, when it comes to finding creative names for places, streets and properties. Distinctive features of locations and objects are often dumbed down rather than emphasized. Although object names can clearly support identification and, thereby, price positioning, i.e. add value. In the next few years many new mid-segment housing projects will get off the ground. And here again: “Tell me where you live, and I’ll tell you who you are.”

The names you find – from Schlossallee (Palace Avenue) to Prügelweg (Spanking Lane)

Since Monopoly every child has known which streets are promising: “Boardwalk” and “Park Place”, of course. What works so simply in the game is being rolled out between Flensburg and Garmisch so excessively now that the image-creating effect gets lost. Almost every town in Germany has a “Gartenstrasse”, a “Birkenweg” or a “Goethestrasse”. There is no differentiation. Whole new build areas are named after artists, flowers or vineyard sites – without any local association. “Prügelweg”, “Zur Hölle” (to hell), “Knochenmühle” (bone crusher), “Spannerweg” (peeper’s lane), “Mausegatt” (mouse fence) or “Tangabucht” (tanga bay) are just a few quirky examples. In these instances there actually tends to be an association with something which, however, is hardly obvious anymore. Diversity is another important aspect, after all there are 14 male street names to one female name. So some communities have already banned male names for new street names. By the way the current number one on the wish list is Elly Maria Frida Rosemeyer-Beinhorn, known as Elly Beinhorn, the popular pilot.

Names create value

In housing project descriptions of the last five years glorious titles like “Palais” (palace), “Terrassen” (terraces), “Höfe” (courts) or “Gärten” (gardens) are particularly frequent. “Palais” is number one – with about 82 projects at the moment. If there is a 90-year-old oak tree in a backyard in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen which has to serve as the basis for the identity of a “Gardens” project (currently 62!), it begs the question how much sense this marketing approach actually makes.

Therefore: Those of you who are responsible for properties, be more creative! A marketing budget and “currently anyway easy selling” do not release you of your responsibility. Form a positive character with harmonious associations. Who would not like to live in the “Französisches Palais” (French palace) on “Sonnenweg” (sun lane) or “An den sieben Bäumen” (on the seven trees)? Since: A good name is worth a lot of money.

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