Cost of Living in Berlin
While the cost of living in Germany is considered high by world standards, Berlin is an exception. Compared to other major European cities, life in the German capital is significantly more affordable in comparison.
A typical family earns a monthly average of € 3,000, and residents are quick to say this is more than enough for their basic needs, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, health care and even recreational activities. Because of this, more expats are drawn to a Berlin that perfectly combines old world and cosmopolitan charms.
There is a broad range of housing variety in Berlin where you have the flexibility to decide between a short term and long term lease agreement. Rentals are also cheap and are 40% more spacious compared to apartments in other European capitals. A huge majority of expats are living in the metropolitan where they are closer to the work offices, shopping malls and other amenities. You can find a one bedroom apartment in the city centre for around €650 per month, a furnished 2-bedroom apartment in Berlin for a monthly rent of €2,570 to €11,640, and a three bedroom unit for roughly €1300. There is also an ample supply of housing in neighbouring districts where the price of a one bedroom flat starts at €500 per month and €900 for a three bedroom unit.
The city's rates are much cheaper in comparison to other key cities such as Frankfurt and Munich. In fact, real estate rates in the capital have had one of the steepest rises in recent years, along with those in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse. The farther the property from the city centre, the cheaper the rates.
Buying a Property
The average cost of a home in Berlin is €217,724 with the rise in demand for residential properties being the primary reason for the increase in prices. Still, the figures are much lower than what one would find in other major European cities. It's always best to get a registered real estate agent to make sure that you're following the right process when you buy property in Berlin. Expats who spend a lot of time travelling in other parts of the world are also at home with a policy in Germany that allows foreigners to own and use properties in Berlin any time as a private holiday property, or to put them up for sale without necessarily having to reside permanently in the city.
The price of home-cooked food and restaurants can vary greatly in Berlin. A meal in a midrange dinner can cost €8-16 while a three-course meal with a bottle of house wine in an upscale restaurant can go up to €51. A week's worth of groceries per person costs about €15-35, but some expats have taken well to those quick meals of shawarma and sausages in stands. A Big Mac costs about 6-7, and a two-liter Coke bottle is worth €1.50.
Berlin is a lot cheaper than Frankfurt and Munich in terms of getting around the city. An exception though is train travel. But by bus, tram or metro transit, about ten stops within a 10-kilometre trip can cost less than €2.70 fare. A five-kilometre taxi trip within the city can be as cheap as €9.41.
Expats can afford to own and to maintain a car with a gasoline price of merely €1.24 per litre. Paperwork for owning a car in Berlin costs about €193.6 annually and is much higher compared to what one would pay in Munich or Frankfurt.
The utility costs for a household of two to three people is €200 monthly on electricity, gas, water and garbage fees. A hundred-minute call on a mobile phone can cost about €15 while a 2mbps ADSL flat Internet connection will be billed about €20-30 monthly.
Even if Berlin has a misleading reputation for having a high cost of living, expats are lucky to find home in a grand city that is surprisingly pleasant and reasonably priced.
Expat Services in Berlin
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