From rent to bills: How much money do I need to live in Vienna?
Vienna is known for having an affordable cost of living, but how much does it actually cost residents to live there? Here’s how much you need to earn to cover the basics in Vienna.
Vienna is famous for its high standard of living and has often been named as the world’s most liveable city.
A big part of this can be put down to the city’s social housing policy – a move described by the Financial Times as “radical”.
Around 60 percent of Vienna’s residents live in subsidised housing and the City of Vienna is Europe’s biggest public owner of social housing. But unlike other cities around the world, social housing in Vienna is typically of high quality and also available for middle class families and professionals.
And due to the high level of social housing, rents in the private sector in Vienna have not risen to levels seen in places like London and New York where city centres are now only affordable for wealthy people.
But even though Vienna might be considered as a “cheap” place to live for some, there is still a minimum amount that residents need to earn in order to live in the city and sustain a reasonable lifestyle.
Rent: €13.80 to €17.90 per square metre
A recent report by Immowelt shows the average cost of an apartment in Vienna’s city centre, or 1st District, is €17.90 per sqm. This means the average monthly price to rent a 60 sqm apartment is €1,074.
However, the city centre is the most expensive part of Vienna, so there are more affordable places to live.
Cheaper districts include Leopoldstadt (€14.70 per sqm), Mariahilf (€15.30) and Favoriten (€14.50). The cheapest district is Rudolphsheim Fünfhaus with an average rental cost of €13.80 per sqm.
But data from Statista shows rent prices in Vienna have already gone up. In January 2023, the average cost per square metre in the city centre was €21.88. The cheapest district was Hernals at €14.43.
Utilities: €150 to €200 per month
The cost of energy has been rising across Austria for months due to high inflation, so it’s hard to predict how much the average cost of utilities in Vienna will be.
Also, around 440,000 homes in Vienna are warmed by district heating – a huge pipeline heating system that is 50 percent powered by waste heat from power plants, industrial waste and biomass. The rest is generated by natural gas.
But this doesn’t mean Vienna’s residents have been shielded from the effects of inflation.
In September 2022, Wien Energie – the city’s main energy provider – announced the price of district heating will go up by an average of €45 per month. As a result, the estimated average monthly bill (based on a 70 sqm home) was reported to be around €145 per month.
For those not on district heating, a two-person household can expect to pay around €150 per month for gas and electricity.
Also, from January 1st 2023, the cost of water supply, wastewater and waste disposal has gone up in Vienna.
The fee increase means a monthly adjustment of approximately €2.90 for an average multi-person household. For an average single household, the monthly fee adjustment is approximately €1.30.
Calculated over the year, this results in an additional burden of approximately €35 or €15.60 – per household and year.
Transport: €30 per month
Vienna’s transport system is extensive with buses, trains (including underground lines) and trams. It is also very affordable.
In fact, public transport in Vienna can cost as little as €1 per day for people that purchase an annual ticket from Wiener Linien, the city’s public transport operator.
A single ticket for Wiener Linien transport (bus, tram, metro and local trains) costs €2.40.
The cost of groceries in Austria varies depending on where you shop.
For people on a budget, shopping at discounters such as Hofer (Austria’s Aldi), as well as at international supermarkets, is a good idea.
At these cheaper supermarkets, it shouldn't be too hard to cover monthly food shopping for a single-person household for around €200 per month. Although prices have been going up in all supermarkets due to inflation.
Childcare: €72 per month
Childcare in Austria is heavily subsidised by the government and even more so in the capital. This includes nurseries (for children up to the age of three) and kindergartens (from age three to six).
In Vienna, parents only need to pay €72.33 a month to cover meal costs, with low income families being exempt from that fee. Vienna also subsidises private kindergartens, paying up to €635.44 a month directly to the institution.
This is in stark contrast to some other European countries, like the UK.
According to charity Coram in their Childcare Survey 2022, the average cost of full-time nursery in the UK is £1,166 (around €1,304 a month), which is even higher in some parts of London.
Total monthly budget for essentials: €1,500 for city centre
If you’re planning to live in the city centre (and you don’t have kids), then you should budget around €1,500 a month to pay for essentials.
Of course, this becomes cheaper if you choose to live in another district, are frugal with food shopping and conscious of how much energy you use.
This cost can also go up if you have a family and need to rent a bigger apartment, so keep these points in mind when negotiating a salary.
Leisure and social time
Life is about more than simply paying for the essentials – especially in a city like Vienna.
Here’s what you can expect to pay for going out and enjoying yourself in the city.
Domestic beer: €4.20
Glass of wine: €3-€5
Cinema ticket: €11
Gym membership: €30 per month
Meal for two at a mid-range restaurant: €50-€90