The price of the apartment is so high that the Czechs are moving to Germany.

Work in the Czech Republic, live in Germany? It sounds back, but is now a reality in areas close to the border.

Have you heard about the price of the Czech apartment? Rental costs are so high that the Czech Republic is now moving to Germany. (Babylon's dummy ching.)

It sounds like a punchline to a bad joke, but in areas close to the German border in the Czech Republic today, reports Česká television.

The rental price of Liberec, the fifth largest city in the Czech Republic with a population of approximately 100 000, has grown by 20 per cent year-on-year and is now between 150-200 crowns per square metre.  apartment for sale

"On a yearly basis, rental prices have risen more than 20%, and today they start to rise to about 150 crowns per square metre," Petr Černý, SBD Sever director of Liberec, told Česká televise.

"There are up to 200 crowns for better equipped apartments. The interest [in them] is enormous."

Meanwhile, in Zittau - a German city about 20,000 across Liberec - costs start at approximately 124 crowns per square meter. A luxurious apartment runs 142 crowns per square meter in the city centre, according to Česká television.

Zittau is a mere 20 minutes drive from Liberec (and an hour and a half by train), making it a viable alternative for the people of Liberec looking for more affordable housing. And that's just what it's got.

Currently around 300 Czechs live in Zittau, most of whom travel daily for work to the Czech Republic.

"Ninety people have come and 34 have left," says Thomas Zenker, Mayor of Zittau.

"In Zittau, we have more than three thousand vacant apartments and about half of them are ready to move in.

Yes, in some German locations – in which the average wage is more than twice the Czech equivalent – the cost of an apartment can be considerably cheaper than in the Czech Republic.

While this may not be a solution to the rising prices in Prague, in areas close to the border people may want to look for accommodation outside the country.

And if house cost is still high in three decades, it can still be a solution for Pragueers when this high-speed rail line from Prague to Dresden is completed.

The Prague City Hall is trying to tackle the growing local middle class housing crisis. The city participates in a development of affordable cooperative housing and the basic parameters were recently approved. According to the City Council, construction with city participation has both political and professional support.

"The provision of Prague owned or rented homes has been an unresolved problem for a long time. A project for affordable cooperative housing, which includes the participation of the capital city, gives affordable ownership, in particular for the Middle Income Group," said City Councilor Hana Kordová Marvanová (Praga United Force).

"It's also an occasion for, for example, representatives of professions which are strategically important for the metropolis' operation and development," she added.

New apartments are currently out of reach of many people. Recent research has shown that the average Prague citizen would have to work 14.6 years, if he spent money on nothing else, to buy a 70 sqm apartment, for example. Rent has increased by 20 to 25% in the last three years, while sales prices for some homes have risen by 86%.

Most apartments in the planned cooperative projects are designated to accommodate people who cannot obtain housing at current Prague apartment prices while at the same time not fulfilling social housing requirements. The co-operative housing is for those who buy an apartment for their own home and not rent or use it for shared accommodation such as Airbnb.

"The project assumes that on the base of a building right or lease agreement, the city will provide the newly created cooperatives with land. The city intends to hold around one third of the apartments it has to serve the needy populated groups," said Kordová Marvanová.

The city still has to acquire appropriate project partners. The parameters approved by the City Council assume that such partners could be for instance an existing housing cooperative with experience in building and managing co-operative residential buildings. The selected partner would arrange and manage the building and related matters.

"We assume that a concession or similar tenders will be used to select the right partner. The city will then enter into a co-operation agreement with the entity,' said Kordová Marvanová.

At a round table moderated by Kordová Marvanová, architects, housing cooperative representatives, banks and developers have agreed that the cooperative housing project is the correct way to tackle housing affordability in Prague.

"It is also important for developers to speed up building authorisation processes and adopt additional legislative measures, as the housing deficit is huge," said Kordová Marvanová.

The current housing situation is, according to developers, partially caused by complicated occupancy permits. Developers further proposed that part of the developers' tax revenue should be allocated to municipal technical infrastructure, transport infrastructure and municipal facilities.

Prague 6 suggested that some of the houses created in their projects be assigned to the needs of the city.

Mayor Zdeněk Hřib of Prague (Pirates) has also stated support for housing cooperatives. The Pirates' statement shows that, in the experience of Finland, for example, positive aspects of such forms of housing construction can be seen.

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