my safe european home.
July 5, 2010 9:12 AM   Subscribe

European Apartment Prices (to buy). Considering buying a cheap 1 bedroom apartment in Europe. say Berlin, Paris, Barcelona etc.. in decent (young-ish / hip area). Anecdotally, which cities are significantly cheaper?

I recently discovered that a freind bought an small 1 bedroom apartment in Berlin for what seems quite a paltry sum of money.. which has made me consider doing the same thing. (or in Paris, or Barcelona or Copenhagen say... as a sort of fall-back place to live / investment property.

is Berlin significantly cheaper in this respect than other places? I'm in the UK where it seems bloody expensive for just a studio flat in a decent hip area (ie East london).
posted by mary8nne to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Check out the responses in this thread.
posted by ambrosia at 9:22 AM on July 5, 2010

Why would you ask "anecdotally" which cities are cheaper? It's relatively straight forward to google "cost of living european cities" and get some actual data on this question.
posted by proj at 9:22 AM on July 5, 2010

This is a useful guide from 2008.

In summary - yes, Berlin is substantially cheaper. It is roughly half the price of London (even if you exclude the uber expensive areas like Chelsea and Kensington).
posted by MuffinMan at 9:25 AM on July 5, 2010

Response by poster: I'm not that fussed about the 'Cost of Living' but wondering if I can get an apartment for about E50,000 (Euro) in area that isn't way out in the Suburbs.

As in it appears you could get a 1 bedroom flat in Neukolln for about that price. which seems a slightly rough area - but probaly be ok.

That other thread was good I guess I didn't search properly.

so to rephrase the question:
In which major cities in Europe can I buy a 1 bedroom apartment for around E50,000 - E75,000 in a somewhat 'arty' hip neighbourhood?
posted by mary8nne at 9:34 AM on July 5, 2010

Also check the taxes. My parents were about to buy an apt. in Europe, but made the decision not to, because it was cheaper to rent a place every year.
posted by Omon Ra at 9:50 AM on July 5, 2010

No information on cost, but the hippest neighborhood in non-suburban Barcelona is El Born.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 9:56 AM on July 5, 2010

Neukölln is getting more gentrified by the day, and is undeniably hip--if I had 50,000 Euros to spare, I would definitely jump on it now.
posted by besonders at 10:03 AM on July 5, 2010

Copenhagen is crazy expensive, the boom hasn't really burst yet. And not that hip, Berlin it would be if it was me and had to be northern Europe.
posted by flif at 10:30 AM on July 5, 2010

My parents just bought an apartment on the Neukölln-Kreuzberg border. I didn't follow the process that closely so this is just a semi-ignorant anecdote, but I can confirm that the nice places attract a LOT of competition, there are a LOT of taxes to consider, and unless I'm remembering incorrectly, the buyer is responsible for paying the seller's realty agent on top of their own. Also, make sure to look into Germany's occupancy rights--in many situations, if the seller so chooses, they can sell the apartment to you and occupy it for up to three years, unless you make arrangements to pay them to leave. That can be thousands more. Finally, Berlin is apparently zoned really weirdly, so that many people are actually living in commercial spaces that are nonetheless inside residential buildings--I don't think this is enforced too heavily but it's sure to make a tax difference somehow.

But now is still a good time to buy, with the Euro sagging. They couldn't have done this without it being substantially closer to the dollar than it usually is. And that part of town is definitely next up for gentrification. My brother's been living near the Rathaus-Neukölln U-Bahn for a couple years, and nearby there are streets that have sprouted 5 hipster bars in that time alone.
posted by Beardman at 10:33 AM on July 5, 2010

nearby there are streets that have sprouted 5 hipster bars in that time alone.

Second hand, but I've heard that bars open and close on a regular basis in hip Berlin. Like a matter of months. Or was this just talk?
posted by IndigoJones at 11:22 AM on July 5, 2010

I have had this idea for awhile. One of the reasons we visited Berlin last year was to look at it as a possible choice of a city to get a pied-à-terre. My advice, is that before you go to all the hassle and expense of purchasing real estate, you go and live there for some time. And by some time, I don't mean a week. Because all the reading and people's advice will be for naught, unless you yourself experience it. People are idiosyncratic. What's great for them, may be not enjoyable for you. For example, on paper Berlin sounded great to me. And while I enjoyed many aspects of the city, in the end, I decided that this was not the city for me. No right, or wrong - de gustibus non est disputandum. You know your city well, right? Now imagine someone from elsewhere parachutes in, and buys an apartment at random - you're liable to be horrified, because you know the city on a granular level and you'd have very definite opinions. We've all had the experience of renting a place, and only after a month or more certain problems (sometimes deal-breakers) only become apparent, stuff you couldn't know from only visiting it a few times.

What I would do (and have been doing) is to target the cities carefully, and then make repeat visits to explore and experience. Don't get stampeded into "a deal of a lifetime" - these usually turn out not so well. In other words, caveat emptor.

Give it some time, and explore.
posted by VikingSword at 12:50 PM on July 5, 2010

In case you are considering Amsterdam: it is not going to happen.
posted by ouke at 1:46 PM on July 5, 2010

Now I'm intrigued ouke... why not?
posted by Omon Ra at 5:46 PM on July 5, 2010

A quick look at internet real estate ads show that 50,000 Euros will get you approximately 7m2 in Paris right now. Vive la France!

I'd buy in Berlin in a heartbeat.
posted by Paris Elk at 11:25 PM on July 5, 2010

Amsterdam won't happen because, for €50K you will be lucky to buy a parking space in a nice neighbourhood.

(OK ... slight exaggeration) ... but seriously, a studio in a nice or "arty" area starts at well over €100K.
posted by jannw at 1:09 AM on July 6, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for tips, it seems Berlin is strangely cheap. and the only other metropolisi with similar property prices might be say Istanbul, Warsaw, or possibly Lisbon or somewhere in Portugal.

I've been to Istanbul once for a week it was nice and lots of good food but leaarning Turkish wouldn't be the easiest language. and there is a bit of a 'culture shock' aspect there that you don' t get in say Berlin.
posted by mary8nne at 2:23 AM on July 6, 2010

Berlin is strangely cheap because it has amazingly high unemployment.
posted by jannw at 8:10 AM on July 6, 2010

Berlin has a culture of lifetime home ownership, it's not an investment the way housing is for Australians or British. So prices increase very slowly. You can't turn and drop a property in less than a decade like you might do elsewhere (not that I've ever invested!)

Buying a place in Berlin or Belgium is my dream too, though. If I can ever understand the bureaucracy.
posted by wingless_angel at 10:49 AM on July 7, 2010

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