Did you hear the one about Czech apartment prices? Rental costs have gotten so high, Czechs are now moving to Germany. (Ba-dum ching.)
It sounds like the punchline to a bad joke, but it’s now a reality in the Czech Republic in areas near the German border, reports Česká televize.
In Liberec, the Czech Republic’s fifth-biggest city with a population of around 100,000, rental prices have grown 20% year-on-year and are now in the range of 150-200 crowns per square meter.
“Year-on-year, rental prices have increased by more than 20 percent, so today they start at around 150 crowns per square meter,” Petr Černý, director of the Liberec housing authority SBD Sever, told Česká televize.
“For better equipped apartments it is up to 200 crowns. The amount of interest [in them] is huge.”
In Zittau, meanwhile – a German city of about 20,000 across the border from Liberec – rental costs start at about 124 crowns per square meter. A luxury apartment in the city center runs 142 crowns per square meter, according to Česká televize.
Zittau is a mere 20 minutes by car (and half an hour by train) from Liberec, making the location a feasible alternative for Liberec citizens in search of more affordable housing. And that’s exactly what it’s become.
Around 300 Czechs currently live in Zittau, and the majority of them commute to the Czech Republic daily for work.
“90 people have arrived and 34 left,” says Zittau’s Mayor, Thomas Zenker.
“We have over 3,000 vacant flats in Zittau, and about half of them are ready to move in.”
Yes, the cost of an apartment in some German locations – where the average salary is more than double the Czech equivalent – can be significantly less expensive than in the Czech Republic.
While this may not be a solution for the rising real estate prices in Prague, those in areas near the border may want to consider looking outside the country for accommodation options.
And if housing costs are still sky high three decades from now, it may yet become a solution for Praguers with the completion of that high-speed railway line from Prague to Dresden.