New Zealand rental prices are a shocker. Wellington and Auckland have set up a permanent footholds in the top 20 most expensive places to live, according to Deutsche Bank's annual report on rental prices.

It's enough to make you want to relocate, and we might have the perfect place.

The curious city of Fuggerei is the town that time forgot, and rental prices have remained frozen at one Rheinisher Gulden (or €0.88 / $1.50) a year since 1521.

Fuggerei: dating back to 1521, the locals havn't seen a rent increase in 500 years. Photo /Getty Images
Fuggerei: dating back to 1521, the locals havn't seen a rent increase in 500 years. Photo /Getty Images

The medieval enclave is located in Southern Germany. A city-within-a-city, the 142 apartments provide housing for 150 residents, and an entirely different administrative arrangement to the city of Augsburg, which surrounds it.

Advertisement

The kitsch terraced houses, wisteria lined walls and shuttered windows are a throwback to a simpler, cheaper time. Also unchanged is the rental price.

City-within-a-city: Fuggerei was built in central Augsburg. Photo / Getty Images
City-within-a-city: Fuggerei was built in central Augsburg. Photo / Getty Images

The commune was founded by Jakob Fugger "the Rich" in 1521, as alms housing for needy Augsburgers.

As a gold merchant in middle-ages Mitteleuropa, Jakob became extremely wealthy.
He built the social housing on a 15,000 square-metre plot with his gains right in the middle of Augsburg. His legacy still funds the upkeep of the city and allows the 150 residents to remain there for an extraordinarily cheap annual rent. (Providing they are Catholic, that is.)

Fuggerei residents offset their cheap rent with community work as gardeners or gatekeepers. Photo / Supplied.
Fuggerei residents offset their cheap rent with community work as gardeners or gatekeepers. Photo / Supplied.

The curious city is closed off to the public at 10pm each night, when it shuts its five large gates.

However the town's strange circumstances have attracted a small tourism industry, which the Fuggeri locals are happy to accommodate.

There is a daily guided tour for the fee of €6.80. Or, about seven years' rent.
The town' website lists a museum in a Second World War bomb shelter among the attractions.

Gated city: Fuggerei residents must pay 1 euro for entry after midnight. Photo / Sabine Simon, Getty Images
Gated city: Fuggerei residents must pay 1 euro for entry after midnight. Photo / Sabine Simon, Getty Images

The city says that for someone to be accepted as a resident of Fuggerei "ancestry, age and family status are not deciding factors. Alongside the prayer requirements, the residents are asked to perform small services for the common welfare".

It seems that there isn't much of a nightlife, though. Visitors and locals caught sneaking back from the clubs of Augsburg or nearby Munich will be charged a fee.

Advertisement

"The gates of the Fuggerei are open until 10pm, afterwards residents must pay the night watchman a sum of 50 cents to be admitted, or one euro if it is after midnight," reads the town rules on admittance.

Still, not a bad deal, if you can get it.