Cost of Living in Albania
Money in Albania
While the cost of living in Albania is one of the lowest among other European nations, it is also considered one of the more indigent countries despite its political shift from Communism to Parliamentary Democracy during the 1990s. Based on a 2009 census, the per capita income of Albania was only US$4,070 or approximately €3,000 every year. The rate of unemployment in Albania is also quite high, approximated at 13% in 2010.
Buying Real Estate
While Albania’s economy is still a developing one, the country’s property market is now starting to emerge from the shadows and enticing prospective property buyers by offering one of the lowest property costs in all of Europe. In 2008, Albania was considered one of the property “hotspots” in Europe, making way for a potential boom in the land market.
The process of purchasing real estate in Albania is quite simple and direct for interested foreign nationals. However, it must be noted that owning a land or property in Albania is still quite the trouble due to the tainted history of Communism in the country, where the government had seized several private properties. It was only more than a decade ago that the Albanian nationals were allowed to purchase the state-owned property they reside in.
It is strongly recommended that expats looking to buy property in Albania should hire a reputable independent lawyer who can help them with the real estate purchasing process. Property buyers in Albania are advised to be very cautious about the validity of title deeds, making sure that they buy only from the true owners, especially in rural areas where illegal properties remain to be a huge concern. It should also be noted that foreigners are not allowed to own agricultural lands in Albania. The estimated price of a property in the country’s capital, Tirana, was approximately US$1,000 per square meter in 2010.
Renting an accommodation is the most popular choice for foreign nationals living and working in Albania, since buying a property takes a lot of bureaucratic work, not to mention the ongoing disputes in title deeds due to the history of Communism on the country.
More often than not, expats choose to rent an apartment or flat in the capital city of Tirana, because this is where most businesses operate and modern facilities are largely available, unlike in the rural areas of the country. Rental costs vary depending on the size of the accommodation. Usually, a one-bedroom apartment in Tirana costs around €200 to €300 a month, while a similar-sized room outside the city center costs €90 to €150 a month.
The price for basic utilities in Albania, such as electricity, water, heating and garbage range from €40 to €70, while one-minute calls from a prepaid mobile phone cost about €0.20. Internet connection rates for cable or ADSL with a speed of 6Mbps and unlimited data range from €15 to €20.
Eating out at an inexpensive restaurant in Albania costs around €5, while meals at a mid-range restaurant range from €10 to €25. A combo meal at McDonalds or a similar fast food chain costs around €3-5. A 1.5 liter bottle of water costs €0.50, one liter of milk costs about €0.88, a dozen eggs cost €1.12, a loaf of fresh white bread costs €0.52, and one kilogram of local cheese costs about €4.28. Domestic beer in restaurants cost about €1, while imported beers cost €1.30. A bottle of mid-range wine costs about €5, and a pack of cigarettes cost €2.
Gasoline prices in Albania range from €1.35 to €1.50 per liter. A one-way ticket for local transports such as buses and “furgons” or minibuses cost about €0.20, while a regular monthly pass costs €10. Taxi fares in Albania cost about €2 for a one kilometer ride, with an additional one euro for every kilometer.
Foreign nationals working in Albania are subject to pay the same amount of income tax, health contributions and social security as Albanian nationals, which are set at a flat rate of 10%. Expats can check with their home country if it has a double taxation treaty with Albania. Meanwhile, Value Added Tax (VAT) in Albania is quite high, set at 20% on all domestic transactions and importation of goods.
Expat Services in Albania
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