The cost of moving to Hamburg
Hamburg doesn’t suffer from the housing shortage that has troubled renters and buyers in Munich and Frankfurt, so house-hunting can happen at a more leisurely pace. However, the market is still rising, so good deals are likely to be snapped up. As a rough guideline, you should expect to pay rent of around €18.00 per square metre for properties in prime locations. This falls to approximately €13 - 15 per square metre for a property in a comfortable suburban area or in an up-and-coming district.
Moving to Hamburg as a foreigner
There are no restrictions on foreign buyers renting or purchasing property in Germany. However, non-European investors are not automatically given the right to a permanent residence. So you, or your employer, will need to have the relevant residency permits organised in order to live and work in Hamburg.
One thing to remember – wherever you're renting in Germany – is that letting agents distinguish between ‘Warmmiete’ (rent that includes heating, water and electricity) and ‘Kaltmiete’ (no bills included). When you sign a lease, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of of a ‘Kaution’ – a deposit that’s usually two to three times the monthly Kaltmiete.
Living in Hamburg is very different in each of the city’s districts. Each will suit a different lifestyle, so take some time to familiarise yourself with them before making a decision.
The areas just to the west of the Alster lakes, including Harvestehude and Rotherbaum, are among the most desirable in the city. They contain many of the few surviving Tudor-style buildings and pre-war mansions, and offer quick access to the amenities of bustling urban districts like St Pauli and the Hamburg Mitte.
Hamburg is also renowned as one of Europe’s greenest cities. To take advantage of the cleaner, quieter life, you could consider the reasonably priced districts further west, including Eimsbüttel and Altona.