July 4, 2013

Munich is expensive but safe

Munich is expensive and if someone tells you otherwise, they are lying to you. 

Let me give you three examples:


***FOODSTUFF*** 

If you live in Munich, you and I got very bad news last week: the food prices are rising in Germany. The demand for regional food products in Bavaria keeps growing but in the country the crops do not grow as usual due to the long winter, the cold and now the "Hochwasser" (=the floods).

The Isar in June 2013
Grocery shopping is more expensive today than it was a year ago. The German inflation is higher than expected and this time we cannot blame the European crisis. The heavy rain led to floods that made the Isar almost burst its bank, disrupted the roads and main transport routes and damaged or even ruined the regional crops. 


For example the bavarian "Spargel" was threatened due to the low temperatures in winter and then the heavy rain. The "Spargel" is a big thing here in Bavaria. Above all the Schrobenhausener Spargel. The Asparagus season starts in April and ends at the end of June, when the Germans say: "Kirschen rot, Spargel tot" (=cherries red, asparagus dead). This year not everyone could enjoyed the bavarian Asparagus, because the prices went up so much that the popular "Spargel" became a luxury.
Screen shot of the Schrobenhausener Spargel site
The asparagus was not the only one crop affected. 
A week ago Die Welt newspaper reported that because of some country areas being under water, grocery shops and markets were selling imported vegetables and fruits instead of the usual regional products. In this season there are not German pepers, aubergines, cucumbers, strawberries, tomatos... 


OEBZ in Munich


***RENT***

"Stoppt die Mietpreisspirale" (= stop the rent costs spiral). To rent a room/apartment in Munich is costly. Unfortunately very little can be done about it.

The organisation "Stoppt die Mietpreisspirale" recognises that Munich grows as a city and that this is not a bad thing. What it is bad, is the fact that the rent prices go in just one direction: up. Unfortunately families cannot longer afford to live in the city: it is simply too expensive. 
Screen shot of the Stoppt die Mietpreisspirale site
The Organization gave a press conference on Thursday and then they all met on Saturday in Stachus to claim more protection for the tenants; to speed up the residential construction in the city at affordable prices and to stop the misuse and the unoccupied building spaces. 

According to the Abendzeitung the square meter in Munich costs €14,20. News at the T-Online site says €12,53 and the online real state website ImmobilienScout24 sets it at €12,30. One euro more, a few cents less... the differences are not big and all sources  agree in one thing: Munich is the most expensive city in Germany when it comes to rent (residential).


Screen shot of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung


***PUBLIC TRANSPORT*** 

...is expensive. Full stop. A single ticket in Munich (one way) costs €2,50 or have they put the prices up again?.


I live in Munich city center and I have a bike (Lola), which means that I do not use the public transport if I can avoid it. There are many like me, many. We are a majority in Munich. And we, as in "the bike riders", we find the metro expensive. I only take it to go to/from the airport and also every once in a while I buy a Streifenkarte, mostly in winter, so I can take the U- or S-Bahn when it is pouring down or freezing in Munich. 

Streifenkarte is a 10-strip ticket and costs €12,50.



Screen shot of the MVV site
Unfortunately there are people who systematically take the metro and do not pay for the ticket. Most of the times they claimed that the U-Bahn is too expensive, that there are not turnstiles or that they won't be caught... Ticket inspectors exist and they are "brutal" (fig.) when they find you. If they catch you without a ticket, they will loudly tell you off and you will get a €40 fine. 

After reading all the above, you have to agree with me: Munich is expensive, then why would someone want to live here? 
I once made a list. I came up with 33 reasons in favor, two against. The two reasons against Munich were : 1/it is expensive; 2/they speak German.

One day I will share with you my 33 reasons but today (unfortunately) I do not have the time nor the room. Instead I am going to focus in "the one reason" that is key for most people when they pick a home for their family: safety.

Munich is the safest city I have EVER known. 

According to the Augsburg Allgemeine newspaper, Munich is the the safest city in Germany. There were 7000 reported crimes per 100,000 population in Munich in 2012 while Frankfurt registered more than the double. 

In my experience/opinion people RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY in Munich:
  • You can walk or bike late at night back home, the city is safe.
  • They do not steal your umbrella. You can leave it at the entrance of any shop, your house, the  gym... and when you come back later, it will still be there.
  • The postman has a key to your building front door to access the mailboxes and nothing happens.
  • Your bike is safe. You can park it outside the supermarket, while you shop and even leave your stuff in the basket. All will still be in the basket when you come back.
  • Very very expensive cars are parked everyday on the streets of Munich and nobody steals them.
  • Home doors and locks are standard, not many have alarms installed. People go away on holidays and nobody breaks in.
  • Sometimes in winter people take off their shoes before entering the house (to avoid bringing the snow and the mud inside). They leave them outside on the doormat and nothing happens. Nobody steal them.
I feel safe in Munich. There are 7000 police officers that watch over us in Bayern every day. The only preventive measure I would suggest to take is to save the 110 number in the mobile (the emergency number), although there is a very small likelihood that you ever need it.

Do you find  Munich expensive? Do you find it safe?