Berlin is the best city in to work for those employees working in the tech sector looking for value accommodation and a short commute to the office, says international real estate advisor Savills.

According to the firm’s Tech Cities 2017 research programme, tech households in Berlin pay only US $180 per week in rent and have one of the shortest commuting times (23 minutes one-way) of all the 22 tech cities surveyed.

The cities with shorter commutes, Melbourne (19 minutes / US $306) and Stockholm (20 minutes / US $280) are also noted as rivals to Berlin as their accommodation costs are below the tech cities average of US $368, says Savills. Austin, the tech city with the fastest commute of only 19 minutes, has some of the highest rental costs at US $476, while Seoul, which has the cheapest rents for tech employees at US $153 per week, has one of the longest commuting times at 40 minutes each way.

Savills identified the neighbourhoods in each city that staff working in a tech ‘scale up’ are most likely to live in, then measured the average rental costs of accommodation in that area. This has then been compared to the commute time to their place of work, measured via the most appropriate mode of transport from that location – in most cases the metro/subway train, but sometimes walking, cycling or driving. Commuting times in European tech cities are lower than those elsewhere: the average tech commute is 27 minutes one way, compared to 31 minutes in US cities and 39 minutes in Asian cities.

Nicky Wightman, director, Savills Worldwide Occupier Services, says: “Most tech workers in Berlin are in the city’s Kreuzberg district; a tech quarter where accommodation is still relatively cheap enabling workers to live relatively close to where they work. This is a key factor in why the city has succeeded in attracting some top occupiers and talent to become a major tech hub.”

Berlin also came top of Savills ‘buzz and wellness index’, a key component of Tech Cities 2017. Savills quantified each city’s ‘‘buzz’ (nightlife, entertainment and cultural offer), ‘wellness’ (including pollution levels, quality of parks, healthcare, commuting times) and combined this with the cost of living, excluding property costs, to capture the softer qualities that many employees and occupiers look for in a location. Berlin was the only city which appears in the top five cities for all three metrics (‘buzz’, ‘wellness’ and cost of living). London (2nd) and Tokyo (3rd), despite having lower wellness scores, are global metropolises and therefore are boosted by their ‘buzz’ performance.

Paul Tostevin, associate director, Savills World Research, adds: “Overall, compact, walkable and cycle-friendly European cities tend to perform better for workers looking for affordable living close to the office. But in larger cities such as San Francisco, New York and London the pay off for higher weekly rents is that workers get to work in these bustling global metropolises that deliver in terms of ‘buzz’, and workers are often in receipt of higher than average tech salaries.”

Source: Savills