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Finding A Place To Call Home

Taking a global view, Germany is not an expensive place to live.

In Mercer’s 2017 list of most expensive cities in the world to live, Munich is number 98 and Frankfurt is 117 — a drop from 2016’s rankings, mainly due to the Euro weakening against the US Dollar. It’s evident from this alone that Germany does not have exorbitant living costs. As elsewhere, cities are more expensive than rural areas, but even moving to the suburbs will make a significant difference to your outgoings. We’ve compiled a roundup of the most likely cities to move to if you’re an expat.

Berlin

The city is very green, with parks, forests, lakes, and rivers covering an astounding one-third of the city. Accommodation is often spacious and slightly cheaper than the other main cities of Germany (especially around the parts which used to make up East Berlin). In the east of the city, the newly gentrified Frederickshain sits adjacent to Kreuzberg (traditionally a Turkish enclave and a fashionable and multi-cultural area), and Prenzlauer Berg (home of a prestigious German literary prize, and an area popular with artists and students). Of the other districts around Berlin, Charlottenburg is an upmarket area in the west of the city with beautiful 19th-century townhouses and the largest surviving palace in Berlin. Expensive Wilmersdorf borders Grunewald, Berlin’s most prestigious area.

Hamburg

Situated in the north-west, Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and is the second biggest port in Europe. The port has helped make it a hub for expats and business and has given it a cosmopolitan flavour. Over 2000 bridges cross its various canals and waterways, and as the economic heart of northern Germany, there are usually plenty of employment opportunities for expats. Some areas to consider if moving to Hamburg include Altona, close to central Hamburg and comprising some of the liveliest areas to be found in the city. This quarter also features the most prestigious neighbourhood, Blankenese, which sits on the river Elbe and is known for combining impressive homes with a quaint village feel. Families find it worth investigating Wandsbek, an area which is accommodation-rich with many new-build houses and apartments.

In 2017, Hamburg was named as the most liveable city by The Economist.

Munich

Named the most livable city in the world (2018) by Monocle Magazine, knocking Tokyo off the top-spot, is Munich. Munich is popular with tourists and expats alike. Despite it being one of the most expensive German cities, it is still cheaper to live in than many of its European counterparts.

The following areas may appeal:

Neuperlach:  A pleasant area popular with expats looking for affordable houses, with many high-rise estates, good transport links, and a variety of shops and supermarkets.

Pasing:  A quiet suburban area a little further out, but with many shops and restaurants, popular with students owing to the nearby University of Applied Sciences. This area has several good bilingual schools, so it's a perfect place to settle with a family.

Bogenhausen: Just a short commute from the city thanks to good U-Bahn and S-Bahn connections, and more affordable than those areas closer in. Bogenhausen offers the tranquillity of the nearby English garden and is close to the Isar River. Again, it’s popular with expat families.

Haidhaussen: A trendy area that attracts a younger crowd, it’s close to the city centre with a pleasant rural feel. Weisenburger Platz and Pariser Platz offer great local pubs, and the Isar River cuts through this area benefitting those who are wishing to jog, cycle, or walk along the riverbanks.

Frankfurt

Frankfurt is a modern city and Germany's financial hub, so unsurprisingly it’s full of skyscrapers and plenty of entertainment and cultural opportunities. Finding accommodation can be hard, but new developments offer good apartments around areas such as Riedberg and Rebstockpark. 

Stuttgart

Despite its strong association with the automobile industry, Stuttgart is set out across hills, valleys, and parks offering incredible views. Stuttgart-West is an attractive area not far from the city centre with shops, markets, cafes, and theatres all within easy walking distance. Sindelfingen, Böblingen or Vaihingen are all further out but finding a house with a garden is more likely in these areas. Closer in, Killesberg and Dogerloch are somewhat exclusive places to settle down.

Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf is a beautiful cosmopolitan city straddling the river Rhine and is host to the headquarters and principal offices of many global firms and boasts great museums, restaurants, markets and international schools. The Pempelfort has a diverse cultural scene, and Hafen is popular with singles and younger people. Bilk is a densely populated area filled with foreigners and students, attracted to its thriving nightlife and green spaces. Oberkassel is perhaps the most beautiful part of the city with its art nouveau architecture and proximity to the river, and Niederkasse is home to over a quarter of the city’s Japanese population.

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