Berlin, getting less cheap fast

American cities may be bastions of gentrification and rising costs of living (in addition, Rick Santorum would add, to snobbery and deviant lifestyles), but they’ve got nothing on Berlin.

The New York Times last week highlighted the huge increases in rents in certain American cities at a time when home prices have fallen. “In San Francisco,” the Times noted, “rents jumped close to 5 percent last year, according to Reis, and increases averaged 3 percent in Austin and New York.”

Berliners are not impressed.

Here in the German capital, according to figures released today, rents have increased by 7.8 percent on average in the past year. In the Mitte district, that figure is highest, at 13 percent. Next comes Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain, where I lived last year, at 11.1 percent. (Granted, the 275 euros a month I was paying was already a jump from the rent a few years ago, so we’re starting from a different baseline. But still.)

Even with the increase, Berlin’s rental costs per square meter are about half of Munich’s.

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