11 surefire signs your kids are becoming Austrian

It happens to the best of us when we move to Austria - our kids, whether they were born here or not, slowly become Austrian. Here are some signs to look out for, so you can prepare yourselves.

11 surefire signs your kids are becoming Austrian
Photo: FamVeldman/Depositphotos

You may think you’re raising another American, Brit, Canadian or Aussie who happens to live in Austria – but think again. Here’s what to look out for as your kid slowly but surely goes native.

  • By the age of around three, they can already ski and ice-skate better than you ever will. 
  • They think Austrian food is the best food. They prefer Spätzle (rather bland, soft egg noodles) over anything more adventurous and spicy, like Indian food, and demand a dessert after every meal. They expect (and enjoy) soup for a starter, and love to tuck into Schnitzel, Gebackener Emmentaler, and anything with Mohn (poppy seeds).
  • They’re into recycling. Don’t you dare throw away a plastic or glass bottle in one of the regular bins at your local park – it must be taken home and put into the correct recycling bin!
  • They develop the fine art of sarcasm and schadenfreude. Especially when it comes to their hapless parents.
  • They've picked up the local phrases and accent and have a better mastery of Austrian-German than you do. Their first words were likely ‘Nein!’, or “Weg, Mama, weg!’ (Go away, Mummy!”) As they grow older, they typically switch to German when they get annoyed or swear. They say ‘Oja’, instead of the more German ‘Doch’ (but), and use the words Paradeiser, Schwammel, Erdapfel, Karfiol, and Kukuruz – instead of their German equivalents. You find yourself pretty envious of how quickly and seamlessly they pick up this new language.

Children of the Waldorf kindergarten Wien-Mauer participate with their parents to the Saint Martin's lantern march in a countryside outside of Vienna, Austria on November 10, 2017.

  • But when they speak English, they have a hint of an Austrian accent (especially if they attend a German-language kindergarten or school). When they’re young, you might find they mix up English and German – ‘Das wheel des Auto ist gebroke!’ But at least you can be thankful they haven’t picked up your poor German pronunciation.
  • They prefer to watch English-language movies with the German subtitles on, or even better dubbed into German – with English subtitles for you, which they only pretend to read. And the cartoons they watch have slightly different names than the ones you remember from home, like Bob der Baumeister, or SpongeBob Schwammkopf.
  • They start to correct your German. It’s rather annoying when a four-year-old starts reminding you of der, die and das, and sniggers when you make mistakes.
  • They greet people in a different way to how you’re used to. A formal handshake when it comes to saying hello or goodbye to the Kindergarten teacher – and later on, two kisses, one on each cheek, for friends and acquaintances. But no hugging.
  • They seem more mature than kids back home who are the same age. “My 11-year-old is probably more politically knowledgeable than most American kids her age,” writes one reader, whilst another is amazed that her son is learning to write in cursive with a fountain pen in Grade 3.
  • They get excited about the Christkind in December, and complain if they don’t have an Advent wreath and a calendar with chocolate goodies in it.
  • But no matter how Austrian they become, you know there’s still a glimmer of you in there. And as one British father-of-two told us, “At the end of the day, English always trumps German in the cool stakes”.

This article was first published in 2017.

For members


What will happen to Austria’s property market in 2022?

The property market in Austria performed well in 2021 with rising prices and high demand. Will this continue in Austria in 2022?

Austrian chalets
Whether you're looking to buy a first or second home in Austria, here's what experts predict for the property market. Photo: Finease Anton/Unsplash

As we near the end of 2021, Austria is in another national lockdown and many businesses are closed, but the property market is still riding high.

This means 2022 could be another strong year for property in Austria, although prices might start to stabilise over the next 12 months.

Here’s what you need to know.

READ ALSO: Why are property prices in Austria’s Tyrol region so high?

What can we expect from Austria’s property market in 2022?

Experts are predicting the high demand in the property market to continue throughout 2022, especially in rural areas and in the luxury homes market.

Justin Field, Marketing Director at property consultants Amazing Austria, told The Local: “The movement of people [as a result of the pandemic) created a demand for more country properties so people could work from home.

“Due to the uncertainty over the virus for the coming year, we would expect the local market to stay buoyant with demand for larger family homes in villages.”

READ MORE: Why are property prices in Austria’s Tyrol region so high?

Maizie Delaney Baird, Property Consultant at ski chalet specialists Lindforth, said they are receiving high numbers of enquiries from buyers looking for an investment property, despite the current national lockdown.

Maizie told The Local: “We still have a backlog of clients who wanted to buy last year but had to put their searches on pause. Additionally, many new buyers, especially Germans, have been inspired by the pandemic to invest in their family lifestyles. 

“Many of our clients want to buy a lifestyle investment property in Austria – a place they can holiday and “work from chalet” on occasion, but also rent out to earn an income.”

However, Justin at Amazing Austria predicts prices could start to stabilise or even drop during the next year.

He said: With the uncertainty of corona, and as personal debt ratios in Austria rise, my own thoughts are that the property market will level out in 2022, or even reduce as debt catches up with people and businesses.”

READ ALSO: Can foreigners buy property in Austria?

Property market trends and hot spots in Austria

Since the start of the pandemic in spring 2020, the Alps region in western Austria has been experiencing a real estate boom as both Austrians and foreigners have sought to buy property in the mountains.

Maizie told The Local it is a seller’s market right now with high demand and a shortage of supply.

She said: “With few chalets becoming available to buy there is a lot of competition so buyers need to be quick and determined if they wish to find their dream chalet, especially in the top resorts.

“In terms of prices, property in world-famous and glamorous Lech am Arlberg [Vorarlberg] are some of the highest in Austria and average around €20,000 per square meter. 

“Whereas, in sporty Zürs am Arlberg, sharing the same ski region and just five minutes away by car, prices average around €15,000 per square meter.”

FOR MEMBERS: Altbau vs Neubau: What’s the difference and which should I rent in Austria?

Elsewhere in Austria there is a similar story, although prices aren’t rising to the same extent as in the Alps.

For example, in Vienna prices have risen by around 12 percent in all districts to an average of €5,800 per square meter (sqm), and luxury properties have gone up by 23 percent to €14,500 per sqm.

In Penzing, prices have gone up by 19 percent in the past year after the average price per sqm exceeded €5,000. In Donaustadt, prices rose by 15 percent to €4,870 per sqm.

What happened to Austria’s property market in 2021?

In the first half of 2021, the House Price Index (HPI), which measures changes in residential property prices, increased from 142.85 in January to 150.77 in July – an all-time high. 

To compare, in June 2020 the HPI in Austria reached 135.11. This was the highest ever recorded level at the time.

Earlier this year, a study by Deloitte showed that new apartment prices in Austria were the most expensive in Europe with a 70 sqm apartment costing an average of 10.6 times the national annual salary.

Gabriele Etzl, real estate expert and partner at Jank Weiler Operenyi / Deloitte Legal, said: “The rising construction costs and the high attractiveness of real estate as an investment form are the main reasons for this price development.”

FOR MEMBERS: Seven common mistakes to avoid when buying a home in Austria

Rising prices have since prompted the Österreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) to warn of overheating in the housing market after it was revealed property prices across Austria have doubled since the beginning of 2010.

The average price increase across the Eurozone in the past decade is just one third.

In fact, some experts say residential property prices are currently overvalued by around 30 percent and there are concerns about the steep growth in mortgages in Austria, which is outpacing the average across Europe.

Stefan Selden, banking advisor at 720° Restructuring & Advisory, told Der Standard: “The development of real estate prices is undoubtedly wild.”

However, according to ImmoScout24, the cost of rent in Austria in 2021 only rose by 1.6 percent, compared to 4.6 percent in 2020. The average cost for a 70 sqm apartment in Austria is €944.

Tyrol remains the most expensive province for rent, followed by Vienna and Vorarlberg.