Accommodation in Berlin

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Expats looking for accommodation in Berlin will find themselves sifting through everything from leftover living spaces to the sleekest apartments money can buy. There's certainly accommodation for everyone in Berlin, with options ranging from homes amid Cold War era East German high rises, the sophisticated neoclassical buildings of Prenzlauer Berg, or the experimental collectives of Kreuzberg.Expats moving to Berlin will have a varied choice of accommodation

The city has long been renowned for its reasonable housing options, and foreign nationals looking to dive head first into Western Europe's coolest capital will find a real estate market defined by oversupply and subsequent low costs.

For those fortunate enough to consider purchasing property, apartments in Berlin's cutting-edge central district of Mitte are somewhat reasonable; especially in comparison to the exorbitant sums paid for precious space in the likes of London or Paris. However, most  of Berlin's population is too poor to purchase, and therefore the majority of the capital’s population rents property.

Renting accommodation in Berlin

As mentioned, cheap real estate has attracted so many young, creative expats to Berlin's centre and suburbs.

That being said, the face of the Berlin housing market is changing in small ways, and expats should take note. Rent has steadily increased in the city and average incomes in Berlin are still relatively low compared to other cities in Germany. Those arriving in Germany without a firm job offer need to have a substantial amount saved to cover the cost of accommodation while they look for employment. Bear in mind that most landlords can ask for up to three months' rent to cover the security deposit on a place.

With such a large variety of places on offer in Berlin, expats need to devote a good deal of time to looking. In Berlin, expats often find that flats of completely different standards can often yield similar rent prices.

Generally, accommodation in Berlin tends to be spacious for the going price. Apartments tend to be around 40 percent larger in Berlin than in other European capitals such as Paris or London. However, some rooms in attractive buildings can also be shabby and may rely on coal heaters; the token characteristic of Berlin's bohemia. Refurbished buildings with beautiful amenities are also plentiful, but are naturally more expensive.
Finding rental properties in Berlin

There are a number of different ways to find a property to rent in Berlin. Expat students can check the bulletin boards at their university buildings where signs for shared apartments, known as Wohnung Gemeinschaft (WG), are posted. Professionals can consult print publications like Zitty and TIP, or on Saturdays, look for the Immobilien issue of Zweite Hand (secondhand).

Otherwise, for a fee, agencies known as Mitwohzentrale or Mitwohnagentur will find apartments to meet individual specifications.

Collectives in Berlin

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city has become somewhat synonymous with squatting. Buildings that had been abandoned or left with no official owner for decades became the living quarters of whoever felt bold enough to claim the space.

In recent years pressure by the local government has all but eradicated the phenomenon of full-blown squatting, but in its place is a compromise - the creation of house projects, or legitimate squats with contracts and rents at very low cost.

Instead of buying property individually, people purchase buildings and even patches of land as a collective, and then can make their own stipulations regarding rent and sharing.

Though this is not an ideal option for the professionally-motivated expat, it can be appealing for the many that flock to Berlin to lose themselves in the clans of creatives that wander around the city in search of inspiration.

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