GERMANY - Real estate - more than any other asset class - is set to reap the rewards of the growing trend of sustainability, according to German mortgage bank Deutsche Hypo.

In a recent report, the company said sustainability would drive modernisation and encourage the refurbishment of buildings, as well as significantly shorten the lifecycle of most buildings.

Andreas Pohl, a board member at Deutsche Hypo, said sustainability was increasingly becoming a "constant" in company management, and that real estate offered "enormous potential" for optimising sustainable management throughout a building's entire lifecycle.

"But it needs a willingness to make investments, and stamina," he added.

The authors of the study said transparency and continuity - particularly with respect to cost - were important prerequisites for "true" sustainability, but were often found lacking.

They said full disclosure and open communication were vital for assessing the seriousness of sustainability management and improvements over time.

In its report, Deutsche Hypo was also critical of the large number of certificates currently on the market for sustainable buildings, pointing out that they all took different factors into consideration and were difficult to compare.

"One can only hope that, in the end, the smallest common denominator - a 'certificate light' - does not prevail, but that a standard is created that gains international recognition as a seal of quality for sustainable operating in the real estate sector," the authors said.