Cost of Living in Moscow



The capital city of Russia, though dubbed by Mercer as one of the most expensive cities for expatriates to live in, remains to be an expat destination in Europe.

Undoubtedly, a financial and political center of Russia, Moscow remains to be an attractive option to expatriates who would like to benefit from the city's robust economy and teeming pool of opportunities.


Moscow's skyline is an interesting sight to behold. Unlike major European cities, the view ‘up there' is an astonishing array of onion-domed buildings and cathedral-like structures.

However, due to changes mandated during Stalinist rule and in response to the Muscovites' housing needs, construction of less ‘eye-pleasing', monotonous housing structures had to be built.

Rental and purchase costs for housing in the city can be very expensive. If you wish to live in a place within the city center, rental cost for a one-bedroom apartment average about 1,400 USD, while a two-bedroom flat can go up to more or less 1,850 USD.

Moscow's southeast and eastern sectors are popular expat targets for housing options due to its proximity to the city center and generally more affordable rental rates. A one-bedroom apartment outside the city center costs around 1,050 USD, while a two-bedroom apartment in the same vicinity averages around 1,250 USD.

Purchase of property within the city center averages about 9,000 USD per square meter, while purchasing real estate outside the business district costs about 5,000 USD per square meter.


They say eating out in Moscow can be quite expensive, but the truth is, the cost is dependent on how much an expat is willing to ‘explore' as far as food options are concerned.

The tip is to avoid the tourist spots and be willing to check out the local haunts. And with the increasing number of expatriates in the city, the range of restaurant offerings in Moscow is also expanding. One can find fast food chains like McDonald's and Sbarro Pizza in the city center. There are even Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants within the city.

Having an expanding selection also means a greater flexibility to your food budget. Eating in a ‘Stolovaya' or canteen-style place would only cost you about 3 USD for a complete meal. These are usually located near the metro stations, in subways, and famous monuments.

Eating in mid-range restaurants would cost you about 67 USD for a meal for two. Make sure to order the ‘business lunch', which usually costs around 6.78 USD to 8.47 USD. The business lunch is usually available from 12 to 3 pm and includes soup or appetizer, a main dish of the day, bread, and a beverage.

While some prefer eating out, expat families would most likely prefer cooking at home. Basic food items like milk costs 0.47 USD per liter, a loaf of bread about 0.33 USD, a kilo of potatoes cost around 0.47 USD, a kilo of fresh beef fillet cost about 3.99 USD, and a kilo of fresh chicken costs 4.32 USD.

Transportation and Utilities

The best way to see the sights around the Moscow city center is to explore it by foot. However, an expat's everyday life would not always be open to leisurely walks, so you may want to also explore public transport options.

Moscow's Metro system is one of the most comprehensive, efficient, and affordable public transport in Europe. The price of a single trip ticket is about 26 RUB (Russian Ruble) or 0.88 USD.

For those who would find using the Metro an everyday need, then it is more cost-effective to buy a multi-trip card which can be bought in 5, 10, 20, to 60 trip increments. A card good for one month (or about 70 trips) cost about 354.17 RUB or 12 USD.

Signs in the Metro subway are in Cyrillic (the language used in Moscow), so make sure to study your itinerary early on, and learn a little of the language.

Trolleybuses can also be found in the city. An alternative to using the Metro, these buses have extensive routes going in and around Moscow. The cost of a single trip costs about 28 RUB or 0.95 USD. 

The cost for utilities is usually figured into rental rates. Either that or the owner of the housing facility would bill you separately for the electricity, gas, and water charges. 

The Russian government solely regulates residential utilities such as water and electricity. Communication utilities like landline phone service and Internet only have a handful of providers, the most popular of which is Comstar which is said to service 90% of the city.

Average cost for residential utilities is about 200 USD, while Internet and phone packages cost about 15 USD monthly.

Moscow offers the expatriate an unforgettable Russian experience; and the price to have to pay for it is definitely worth every Russian ruble.



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Cost of Living in Russia

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