|Published:||9 Jul at 6 PM|
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Expats living and working in the Czech city of Liberec have two options – either pay soaring rental charges or move to Germany.
It’s the same situation in a number of Czech cities located close to the border with Germany, with soaring rents causing genuine hardship for locals and expats alike. Retail prices have rocketed by over 20 per cent year-on-year, and are now unaffordable except by those on high wages. Just across the border from Liberec lies the German city of Zittau with its 20,000 inhabitants and rentals of just over half the amount charged in the Czech Republic. Getting from Zittau to the centre of Liberec by train takes just half an hour, and driving time is just 20 minutes, making living in one country and commuting to its neighbour the sensible option, provided your country of origin is an EU member state.
In addition, it’s easy to rent a suitable apartment in Zittau, as there’s a choice of around 3,000 vacant flats, half of which are ready to move into. The average salary in Germany is over double its equivalent in the Czech Republic, yet affordable housing is easily available. Unfortunately for expats living and working in the country’s capital Prague, there‘s no nearby border to take pressure off the budget, with prices in the city already through the roof and still rising.
Provided the commute doesn’t put them off, expats heading for Liberec can expect some English speakers due to the city’s university, and the surroundings are undeniably beautiful as well as perfect for summer hikes and winter skiing. Backed by mountain ranges, it’s the republic’s third largest city with around 150,000 inhabitants and a settled expat community. Due to development in the 19th century when the town was part of Bohemia, its period buildings are spectacular and its hillside districts are picturesque and charming.
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