Rent in London is nearly three times more than in Berlin and Madrid

Looking for a sure-fire way to ruin your day? Take a quick look at rent prices in literally anywhere else in the UK except London. Yeah, not great, is it? But it’s not just the rest of the UK that has it better than us on the rent front. Flatshare website Weroom has looked at the average cost of a room in a flatshare in London, Paris, Madrid and Berlin – and there are no prizes for guessing which city is the most expensive. London came out top (obviously) at £950 per month, while Paris was about 30 percent less at £651, and Madrid (£351) and Berlin (£341) were nearly two-thirds cheaper than London.

And there are plenty more depressing stats where those came from. Houseshares in London have an average size of 88 square metres across three rooms – a similar size of two bedrooms in Berlin (86 square metres) and Paris (82 square metres), which means Londoners are paying more money for less space. Great.

Source – http://www.timeout.com/london/blog/rent-in-london-is-nearly-three-times-more-than-in-berlin-and-madrid-022516

What Is This Mysterious Bedroom Doing In Berlin’s Subway Tunnels?

Employees of Berlin’s public transport company BVG got a creepy surprise last week, when they discovered a fully-furnished bedroom in an unused section of U-Bahn tunnel. The bedroom was tidy and well looked-after, but the BVG claims that it wasn’t lived in.

These photos, sent anonymously to the Berliner Zeitung news site, may be part of an art project, a political statement, or a prank. The room, on the Berlin Metro’s line 9, is furnished with an Ikea bed, a potted plant (recently-watered), an easy chair, and even a TV, wallpaper, and art. The room, says Berliner Zeitung’s Antje Kara, seems to have a 1980s office vibe to it, although it’s more of a Communist-era East German 1980s vibe than the garish, neon-colored 1980s us Westerners experienced.

Employees of Berlin’s public transport company BVG got a creepy surprise last week, when they discovered a fully-furnished bedroom in an unused section of U-Bahn tunnel. The bedroom was tidy and well looked-after, but the BVG claims that it wasn’t lived in.

These photos, sent anonymously to the Berliner Zeitung news site, may be part of an art project, a political statement, or a prank. The room, on the Berlin Metro’s line 9, is furnished with an Ikea bed, a potted plant (recently-watered), an easy chair, and even a TV, wallpaper, and art. The room, says Berliner Zeitung’s Antje Kara, seems to have a 1980s office vibe to it, although it’s more of a Communist-era East German 1980s vibe than the garish, neon-colored 1980s us Westerners experienced.

The buzz around the prank is focusing on who did it, and how, complete with complaints that Berlin’s metro security has failed. The who may remain a mystery, but the how is easy. Taking your Ikea flatpack furniture home on public transport is totally normal in Berlin. Nobody would pay you any attention. And looking at the photos, it seems that the bedroom is in a part of the underground system away from the actual train tunnels, meaning nobody had to jump off a platform and disappear into a tunnel with a heavy CRT TV set.

By secret underground construction standards, this bedroom is small fry. In the summer of 2004, police in Paris discovered a clandestine cinema hidden in the city’s extensive catacombs while running a training exercise. The 3,000-square-foot subterranean complex was “strung with lights, wired for phones, [and] live with pirated electricity.”

The underground bedroom is still pretty creepy, though. Unless you’re one of Berlin’s homeless, trying to survive the Northern European winter. Then it might seem pretty appealing.

Source – http://www.fastcoexist.com/3056801/what-is-this-mysterious-bedroom-doing-in-berlins-subway-tunnels

Berlin named top European university city for British students

Despite free tuition in Germany, research reveals that nearly two thirds of UK students wouldn’t consider studying abroad

Berlin has been named the top European university city for students from England due to lifestyle and the free tuition offered in Germany.

Analysis of the cost of living, the quality of education, tuition fees and the English-taught courses on offer, concluded that the German city was the best place to study for students from England.

The research ranks the top 10 most popular European cities for UK students across 10 different categories.

Following analysis, Berlin came out on top, closely followed by Paris – which recently topped the QS World University Rankings for top student cities in 2016 – and Copenhagen.

Researchers noted the “famously efficient” transport system, the absence of tuition fees for EU students, the “exciting nightlife” and the price of accommodation in the city as key reasons the city came out on top.

However, despite the lure of low or no tuition fees, nearly two thirds of students would only consider studying in the UK, despite England having, on average, some of the highest course fees in the world.

According to the survey of 1,000 students, carried out by money transfer platform, TransferWise, 87 per cent of students said going to university in the UK was too expensive, yet many remained unaware of the options available in Europe.

When asked why they wouldn’t consider universities abroad, many cited a reluctance to leave family and friends as a key concern, with language apptitude and cost also playing a part in the decision making process.

Furthermore, according to the study, many students remain unaware that top European cities offer university courses taught in English.

However, the process for applying to European universities could become easier in the future as last year the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) announced that it would allow institutions to join its system if they met the same standards as universities in Britain.

Today’s research also looked at categories including safety, culture, the international student community and the ease at which students could travel home.

When comparing all categories, researchers ranked Berlin as the top city, followed by Paris and Copenhagen. Zurich ranked in tenth position due to the high cost of living (Continue reading here – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/12148606/Berlin-named-top-European-university-city-for-British-students.html)

Berlin’s New Rent-Control Law Probably Isn’t Working After All

About a month after the introduction of new rent-control laws across Berlin last June, the cost of new contracts for rental apartments across the city started going down. But while many cheered the news, a month is a pretty short span to judge a new law’s efficacy. Now that 2015 has drawn to a close, a new report from property firm CBRE finds that prices for new rental contracts in Berlin have in fact gone up.
Not by much. The year-on-year rise across the city for 2015 was 5 percent, a reduction on the previous year’s rise of 6.5 percent. Most of this rise, however, happened before the new rent law—called the Mietpreisbremse or “rent price brake”—emerged on June 1. After the law hit, new rents did fall for a few months, but according to the CBRE report, rents rose again in November and December.

Could this be a sign that the law has failed? Not necessarily, but it does suggest the law isn’t working in exactly the way it should.
Before looking at why, it’s important to understand how the law is supposed to function. American readers might read the words “rent control” and assume a system akin to that in New York, but Berlin’s new law is rather different. Its theoretical intention was not to halt rent rises but merely to slow them down—to prevent galloping rent jumps that could see Berlin residents priced out of their neighborhoods within a year or so. This turnover could cause rampant instability in a city where rental tenants overwhelmingly outnumber owner-occupiers, who made up just 15 percent of city residents in 2012.
The law—the first of many being rolled out across Germany—supposedly works like this: a rental observatory calculates the typical rent per square meter for a given area. Since not all apartments are equal in condition or quality, the rental observatory creates different rates for the area, for homes deemed “simple,” “medium,” or “good,” also factoring in the building’s age. Over the following five years, no new rental contract is allowed to exceed these rates by more than 10 percent. Existing rental contracts, meanwhile, are already protected from rises above this rate. One reason the law was introduced is to iron out a discrepancy by which older tenants got very cheap rent while their new next-door neighbors paid through the nose.

Continue reading – http://www.citylab.com/housing/2016/02/berlin-rent-control-cbre-report/458700/