Baden- Wurtemberg is home to approximately 10.6 million residents; making it more populous than several European countries such as Austria or Finland. With Stuttgart as its capital, Baden- Wurtemberg is the third largest German state and truly an economic leader in Germany and in in Europe, boasting both formidable multinational corporations as well as small businesses of enviable success. The economic force of this federal state is surpassed only by Luxemburg and the Netherlands within the European Union. In 2010 it was 31% higher than the average European state. Baden-Wurttemberg is characterized by its varied scenery and distinguished by its superior living standard and high number of luxury properties. In the last five years prices of apartments increased 6.9% in Freiburg, followed by Baden-Baden with 5.4%, and the Lake Constance area at 4.1%. Regarding rent prices, the highest rates are found in Freiburg, Baden-Baden, Heidelburg and Constance. In these areas one pays approximately 25 times more than average; and 22 times at Stuttgart, Mannheim and Kalsruhe. Furthermore in 2012, for the first time in history at Stuttgart, the price limit of 10 euro per square meter was surpassed. Preferred zones for high end buyers are surely those in close proximity to Stuttgart.