The choice of your own flat is a serious decision which is often made for the whole life. Young people more and more often choose large European cities for their destination. However, your own flat means significant cost in particular if you want to live in the capital. In this article you will learn where you will pay the least and where the most for your flat.
European capitals are a captivating residential proposal in particular for ambitious young people. Good university education? Work offering development opportunities? Greater opportunities? You can find all that in large, developed cities. Although the city life offers broad perspectives, living there is not cheap. Nonetheless, more and more Europeans decide to buy a flat in the capital of a large country. Having one’s own flat means long-term saving and great capital investment. Depending on the exact location, standard and expectations, the flat prices differ. Starting from countries offering a bit lower prices and ending with the ones where one square meter costs the equivalent of a good monthly pay, we check which European capitals offer the best conditions for those planning to buy their own flat.
We compared the most important capitals in Europe based on the HRE Investments report from January 2020. Based on data from numbeo.com, the report compares real property prices with the costs of their maintenance worldwide. The prices refer to 1 square m of a flat in the city center.
The Balkans — inexpensive flats in an interesting location
The Balkans are a perfect place for those who desire permanent residence in a large European city without investing that much at the beginning.
The least expensive capitals include Bucharest (up to EUR 1,752), Riga (ca. EUR 1,822) and Athens (a bit more than EUR 1,869).
If we consider the price for one square meter, a flat in Chisinau will be one of the less expensive options. We will pay the equivalent of ca. EUR 887 in the center of that city. The prices will be a bit higher, but still affordable given this is the capital, in Prishtina (a bit above EUR 1,098), Skopje (ca EUR 1,214) or Podgorica (less than EUR 1,331). The price rises in Sarajevo where you will have to pay more than EUR 1,682 for one square meter.
West Europe — high standard for a high price
Monaco is definitely the most expensive location when it comes to buying your own flat. To pay for one square meter of a flat, you need close to EUR 54,656 which is really much.
One of the highest flat prices will be the ones in the most developed, rich countries, including London or Paris. In the former, the price per one square meter is close to EUR 15,182. In Paris, the same area costs a bit less, though still quite a lot, as close to EUR 11,212.
Scandinavian countries are also expensive in terms of buying a flat. One square meter of your own flat in Stockholm is close to EUR 8,642. In Oslo, you have to pay just EUR 467 less. Helsinki offers a flat for EUR 7,358 per one square meter. The least expensive Scandinavian city is Copenhagen (EUR 6,073).
The typically tourist capitals, including Rome (EUR 6,423) or Vienna (EUR 6,493), are also expensive.
If you want to live in a Central or East European state, you will have to pay most for one square meter in Berlin (EUR 5,979) and Prague (a bit more than EUR 4,905). Warsaw is also expensive when compared to other capitals, as one square meter costs close to EUR 3,270 here. It is similar for Bratislava where the price of one square meter starts from EUR 3,083.
A flat in Budapest (a bit above EUR 2,803) or Vilnius (ca. EUR 2,686) may be a bit less expensive. The other cities, including Sofia or Bucharest, have prices which are almost one half lower. If you look for some less expensive location, you can consider Kiev (EUR 1,635) or Minsk (a bit more than EUR 1,471).
A flat — and what next?
Unfortunately, buying your own flat in a European capital is not all the costs connected with that project. Whether a given city should be considered expensive is based on one most important factor, i.e. the ratio of earnings to real property prices. The average earnings in the largest cities in Europe belong to a relatively broad range, from a bit above EUR 257 to ca. EUR 3,854 net.
If we assume that buying a flat entails a loan and the need to pay one’s maintenance costs in the capital, the flat of ca. 50 square meters will become our property in 14–15 years, provided our earnings are ca. EUR 934–1,168.
When it comes to the ratio of the flat price to the quality of the flat and living, Brussels seems to be a good solution as a flat of a similar size and with similar terms and conditions can belong to us in ca. 6 years. It is the opposite, i.e. much more expensive, for London or Belgrade. France and Albania turn out to have a poor ratio of earnings to the price. It can easily be inferred that the worst ratio will be the one in Monaco where you need to work for close to 60 years to have your own flat if you earn the national average.
Just in case
Although the prices in European capitals are relatively high and do not encourage to spend any extra money, you should not neglect some things if you think about securing yourself and your property for the future. To ensure the money invested in your own flat does not get lost in an accident or another fortuitous event, the flat needs to be insured.
However, it is not necessarily difficult to select the appropriate policy. The flat insurance, being a crucial aspect, should be selected right at the beginning. Thanks to that, we will avoid any unnecessary problems and extra stress, and our property will be safe. What you should pay particular attention to is the protection of walls and fit-out, from fortuitous events and theft. When compared to the flat price, the home insurance costs are not high as the annual expenditure on such insurance is just several percent of the real property value.