About us

Company History

The formation and development of Vonovia is characterised by growth and change. 

Founded in 2015, Vonovia is still very young, yet its roots extend far back into the 19th century. Created through the merger of Deutsche Annington and GAGFAH, Vonovia can look back on more than 100 years of experience in the German residential property sector.

German residential property with tradition
And also before the merger, there were already parallels. The lifelines of both companies were often very similar. Our roots lie deep in non-profitmaking residential construction: the predecessor companies of Deutsche Annington go back to the year 1848, the founding year of Raab Karcher. GAGFAH on the other hand, was founded in 1918 as the Gemeinnützige Aktien-Gesellschaft für Angestellten-Heimstätten (non-profit corporation for employees’ housing) in Berlin.

Deutsche Annington and GAGFAH therefore have their origin in residential construction for employees: housing companies and cooperatives which built low-cost housing for workers, employees and officials. These include many settlements which were exemplary at the time and are listed buildings today. Living in so-termed “workers’ settlements” meant considerably more than just affordable living space. The residents were colleagues and neighbours, they worked and lived together. The spirit of these settlements - the sense of community and welfare – are historical values, which also count for Vonovia in the future. They are values which we reflect on and wish to put in the foreground again. Our history is important to us.

Tradition meets private equity investors

This history also includes a phase which was characterised by “private equity investors”. The German housing market as a whole underwent change and a certain globalisation took place. Private equity investors discovered the residential property sector as a financial investment on a grand scale: in case of Deutsche Annington, Terra Firma took over in 2001 and at GAGFAH 2004 it was Fortress. The business model pursued did not ultimately show the hoped-for success; the companies came under financial pressure, with the effect that maintenance and investment in the housing stock had to be largely cut back. This was at the expense of serious housing defects, which resulted in persistent and reputation-damaging complaints by tenants, which contributed to and bolstered the “locust image” in Germany. Through increasing emancipation from the large investors, both companies took a new entrepreneurial course.

Tradition and modernity: landlords and residential service providers

The merger and the change of name to Vonovia mark the beginning of the third era in the company’s history and development. We are a modern, efficient service company in the residential property sector which provides impetuses and gives people a home. We offer good-quality, above all affordable homes throughout Germany, combined with housing-related services from a single source.

With an efficient organisation model, optimised processes, a distinct focus on the service concept and our tenants as well as a clear investment strategy, we are laying the foundations for a profitable and sustainable company. Our company is managed by an executive board, is controlled by a supervisory board with equal representation, and listed on German stock exchanges; as are many leading German traditional corporations.

In this way, we generate opportunities for sustainable growth, value our tradition, learn from our past and face the future with a spirit of innovation.

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