Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Cost Of Living

It’s normal when you travel to another city to compare it with the one where you live, so I couldn’t resist some comparisons between Madrid and Berlin, where I spent the weekend. I used to think, when I still lived in the UK, that Germany was one of the most expensive countries in Europe to visit; but having worked quite a bit there in the last few years it is clear that this is no longer the case. Finding a place in Madrid where two people can eat and drink well for 30 Euros is not such an easy task any more (if you don’t go for a menu of the day), in Berlin it didn’t seem to be a problem. The gap between German and Spanish prices has largely disappeared in the last decade for many things. In some cases it has gone the other way, I read recently that an apartment measuring 100 square metres in the centre of Berlin can cost around 150000 Euros. You have to at least double that figure to get the price of something similar in Madrid. So what, this could just be a sign that Spain has become wealthier and that Germany is no longer the economic powerhouse that it used to be? However, the crucial comparison comes when you compare the average salary in the two countries. I don’t have the figures to hand, but I’m prepared to bet a big glass of foaming weizen beer that the German salary is still well ahead of its Spanish equivalent.

2 comments:

Ian Curtis said...

Puedes dar por seguro que la cerveza la ganas; en España el nivel de precios ha subido en los últimos tiempos una barbaridad (en realidad el aumento lleva casi sin descanso desde los 60).
De todas formas, creo que Madrid y Berlín no son ejemplos significativos:
Madrid porque tiene una diferencia grande con respecto al resto de España, y Berlín porque es una excepción en Europa; cualquier otra capital europea (Viena, Bruselas, Londres) tiene precios mucho mayores que Berlín sin que su renta per capita sea muy diferente a ésta. La verdad es que no me explico lo de Berlín.

Un saludo

Graeme said...

El caso de Berlin es quizás un poco especial como consecuencia de la reunificación. Sin embargo, los alemanes no tienen esa subida continua del precio de la vivienda, por eso la diferencia con España ya es tan pequeña. En el Reino Unido, el mercado es más parecido al español – pero otra vez la renta media es bastante más alta.