REAL ESTATE - CB Richard Ellis’s Germany managing director and investment advisory services director Guido Piñol is to join Fortress Investment’s German operations as managing director next month.

Piñol will head Fortress’s commercial real estate acquisitions group. His role will be to drive the acquisition strategy of Euronext-listed offshore firm Eurocastle Investment, which Fortress manages externally.

In a statement, Piñol cited Fortress’s “superior investment track record and highly respected reputation” as reasons for the move. He was unavailable for interview.

Earlier this month Fortress agreed to purchase 48,000 state-owned residential properties and 1,300 commercial properties from the city of Dresden for a reported €982m. In February Eurocastle completed the €2bn purchase of just over 300 commercial properties with the acquisition of Dresdner Bank’s open-ended real estate fund.

Elsewhere, German residential real estate fund Puma Brandenburg has raised £185m (€266m) with an initial public offering (IPO) on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Director Howard Shore, who invested £8m of his own cash in shares, said large institutional investors including Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and Jupiter had all acquired shares in the company.

The firm cited as one factor behind this optimism for the German market a likely rise in the rate of home-ownership. Currently, the current rate of owner-occupation stands at just 12% in Berlin. Asked why he expected the ownership rate to rise, Shore said: “Why wouldn’t it?”

“It’s so low, it has to get higher,” he added. “In the UK you have a culture of home ownership, but what has made it possible is the mortgage market. Just because it’s comparatively low, the German market is likely to change over time, moving more in the direction of the UK.”