Accommodation in Berlin

►Buy the Expat Guide to Berlin for PDF


Expats looking for accommodation in Berlin will find themselves sifting through everything from leftover living spaces to the sleekest and the chicest. Whether you prefer to make your home amidst the Cold War rhetoric of East German high rises, the sophisticated neoclassical buildings of Prenzlauer Berg, or the experimental collectives of Kreuzberg, there's certainly accommodation for everyone in Berlin.

accommodation in BerlinThe city has long been credited as the mythological deity of reasonable housing options, and those 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; easily four times less than the cost of precious space in the likes of London or Paris.

Such a sugary temptation is sadly bittersweet for locals and most expats, however; nearly ninety percent of Berlin's population is too poor to purchase and is resigned to renting.

Renting accommodation in Berlin

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

That being said, the face of the housing market is changing in small ways, and expats should take note.

Recent statistics have shown that rents are slightly rising, though demand remains almost the same as it was in 1990. Furthermore, average incomes in the city are falling and those expats that haven't secured employment beforehand may find that accommodation still consumes a large part of their monthly budget.

Furthermore, with such a variety of living opportunities available in the city, it's often necessary to devote a good deal of time to looking. Flats of shockingly different standards can often yield similar prices.

Accommodation in Berlin tends to be spacious for the going price - statistics show that the average Berliner has over 40 square metres of living space to themselves, much more than most major European cities. Still though, some rooms in attractive buildings can also be shabby and may rely on coal heaters; the token smell of Berlin's bohemia.

Refurbished buildings with beautiful amenities are also plentiful, but naturally are more expensive.

Finding a flat in Berlin

There are a number of different ways to find a flat to let in Berlin. Expat students can check the bulletin boards in Humboldt University's main building 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 your specifications.

Collectives in Berlin

housing in BerlinWhen the wall came down in post-reunified Berlin and the dust began to settle it became clear that the city was hosting the heyday of squatting. Buildings that had been abandoned for ages 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 Berlin has birthed a compromise - the creation of house projects, or legitimate squats with contracts and rents at very low cost.

Instead of buying property individually, people have purchased 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 certainly be appealing for the many that flock to Berlin to lose themselves in the clans of creatives that wander around desperate for inspiration.

Become our local expat expert for your area!

Expat Arrivals is looking for contributors to make this the ultimate guide for international expats.

If you are an established expat who could make time to write useful information for expats in your city and answering forum questions from new and prospective expats, please contact us.

As our local expert you can have your profile showing on each page you publish, and will have an option to promote your website or blog.

Got a question about your new country?

Search Expat Arrivals

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
, after login or registration your account will be connected.
Login with your Facebook account (Recommended)