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BERLIN PROPERTY VALUES SKYROCKET WITH DECISION TO SHIFT GOVERNMENT

Property values in Berlin are skyrocketing amid a whirlwind of fast-paced land sales triggered by last week's decision to move the German government and parliament to Berlin, real estate agents said Monday.

"The telephones are running hot in our office," said Gerlinde Lohmueller, head of a Berlin real estate agency on Berlin's fashionable Kurfuerstendamm boulevard."We are selling everything, including properties which up to now were regarded as too expensive," she said.

Lohmueller's agency recently sold a 821-square-foot piece of property near Friedrichsstrasse in central Berlin for $228,000. Before Thursday's decision to move the German government and parliament to Berlin within 10 to 12 years, the same property attracted no buyers when priced at $139,000.

The asking price for a piece of land in the less-central Pankow district increased overnight by $55,000, to $417,000, Lohmueller said.