Housing shortage, soaring rents have students in Czechia scrambling

A limited housing supply coupled with the refugee crisis, inflation, and rising prices means young people cannot afford today's housing prices.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 08.08.2022 12:51:00 (updated on 08.08.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

A recent ranking that analyzed 250 global cities named Prague the second-most affordable city in Europe for students. This result has surprised many: Soaring inflation and the inaccessible housing market bring into question the true affordability of Prague for young people. 

Among the 70 respondents who participated in a recent Expats.cz poll, 51 percent rated Prague "not so affordable" for students and another 3 percent believe the city is "not at all affordable." Meanwhile, 23 percent said it is "average." Twenty percent claimed it is "affordable," and 3 percent believe Prague is "very affordable."

As rent prices increase driven by the energy crisis, so does the cost of student housing. This year, there is also a significant shortage of apartments reported on the real estate market.

In Prague, where the demand is high every year, there are currently 1,960 vacant apartments available, which is 54 percent fewer than at the same time last year, investment company Garantovaný nájem stated. 

Brno currently offers around 300 apartments to students, which is a 30 percent decrease year on year. A similar situation is also observed in Plzeň and Pardubice. Meanwhile, the situation in Olomouc and Zlín is somewhat better, but it is expected that the offer there will also drop significantly at the beginning of the year.

"Students who plan to find an apartment to rent, even if shared, near their universities should not underestimate the situation. If they don't get housing as soon as possible, they will have to pay more for rent," Viktor Mejzlík, the co-founder of Garantovaný nájem, said. He added that competition among tenants is currently high.

The situation for students could also be complicated by the increased price of rent. According to the portal Numbeo.com, the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Prague is CZK 21,888.66 and CZK 15,645.30 outside of the center. 

“Rent prices in Prague skyrocketed after Russia's attack on Ukraine," Evžen Korec, the CEO of developer Ekospol, said. “Within a few weeks, it increased by up to 15 percent. Rents continue to rise, but somewhat more slowly. In this way, it responds to the continuous increase in the prices of new apartments, which in the first quarter increased in price by more than a fifth year-on-year."

Data from Bezrealitky and Maxima Reality also confirm rent growth. For the first time in history, the price per square meter climbed to a record CZK 304 in Prague. In Brno, it is currently rented for CZK 258 per meter, and in Zlín it is CZK 204.

Even last year, students paid dozens of crowns less per meter in rent for a Prague apartment. According to Bezrealitka's monitoring at the time, the price stabilized at CZK 264 per meter in the second quarter. 

At the same time, experts expect price growth throughout the rest of the year. "We expect rental prices to increase even more at the turn of August and September when there is the highest demand for apartments. In Prague, prices could increase by 3 to 4 percent, which is approximately CZK 500 per month," Mejzlík said.

Due to the limited supply exacerbated by the refugee crisis coupled with inflation and rising prices, young people cannot afford today's housing prices. Even after completing university studies, they have to explore flatshare options or move in with partners, Mejzlík noted.

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