Prices rising in Prague and Bratislava


It's not so many years since young westerners were moving to central and eastern European cities like Prague in order to live on the cheap. Today, however, prices in the region are starting to catch up on western European cities. Bratislava this year jumped from 48th to 31st most expensive city in the World Cost of Living Survey run by the consulting firm Mercer. Radio Prague's Dita Asiedu spoke to Mercer's Jana Kurtinova, and asked: how are prices in the Czech capital?

"This year, Prague is in 49th place and last year it was in 50th place. When we take the major elements or items then the rent of a luxury 2-bedroom unfurnished apartment for example costs 1,100 euros. It is usually in the centre of Prague and that is why the price is a little bit higher. As far as the bus ticket is concerned, it costs 60 cents. A music CD is quite expensive compared to other cities and countries and costs 21 euros. A cup of coffee - probably the most favourite in Prague - costs 2.80 euros."

Compared to other cities like London or Rome, for example, how much would the luxurious apartment that costs 1,100 euros here cost there?

"In London, it's nearly 3,000 euros and in Rome 1,500 euros. I think that Prague is still one of the least expensive cities in Europe. London ranked number two this year."

And yet, Prague is more expensive than many cities in the United States - for example, Washington DC, Chicago, or LA...

"Well, with the appreciation of the Czech crown and also the euro and the weakening of the US dollar, the exchange rate primarily caused the change in the ranking."

What about Bratislava? We're surprised that Prague is more expensive than many cities in the USA. And then we're also surprised that Prague is cheaper than Bratislava, the capital of neighbouring Slovakia.

"The Slovak economy made substantial progress last year, which was also connected with the strengthening of their currency and the exchange rate. So, this is the main reason why Bratislava went up that much."