Living in the country

A church and many houses surrounded by fields and forests.
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In a lot of German cities these days it's not easy finding an apartment. Rents and property prices are often very high, and there are few affordable apartments for families. Prices are especially high and demand is great in popular big cities and university towns like Munich, Hamburg, Heidelberg and Freiburg. The situation is generally better in rural areas, but not in the areas surrounding popular big cities, in the so-called Speckgürtel (commuter belt). Often, it only becomes cheaper when you move even farther away from the city. In many of the towns away from major cities, populations have been sinking for years. Some people, however, still choose to live in the country, where there's more space for children and things are less hectic. Many people then have to commute every day by car to get to work in the city. They enjoy the peace and quiet of nature and closer contact with neighbors, but at the same time they complain about infrastructure in the towns, which is sometimes substandard.